On November 17, the DHS inspector general announced a request to airports for personal information on all employees with access to secure or sensitive areas. TSA workers with badges that grant access to non-public areas and all airport employees information is to be submitted by November 22, 2010.
In response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the TSA was created to transfer control of airport security to the federal government. However, it was not until March 2003 that the TSA became part of the Department of Homeland Security along with every other agency but the kitchen sink.
The United States government rushed to create new agencies to calm public fear. TSA, and other government agencies tasked with protecting the homeland focused their energy on meeting unrealistic federal mandate deadlines in order to receive billions of dollars in DHS grants. TSA needed to deploy more than 55,000 screeners, personnel and equipment to secure the nation’s airways in order to meet the mandate.
The irony is that the Department of Homeland Security has expanded to include 22 agencies for the purpose of improving information sharing among agencies. Here is the organizational chart as it appears on the DHS website.
Since its inception, we have seen hundreds of headlines across the country that have evidenced outrageous incidents involving TSA employees. After billions of dollars and more than nine years, not one terrorist has been detected by TSA or the technology employed. Furthermore, most experts agree that full body scanners would not have detected the “underwear bomber” before he boarded the airplane on Christmas Day 2009.
Last month in Chicago, a man rode bike on O’Hare runway before trying to get into a terminal through a security door. The incident was initially mentioned by the media, the 22 year old man was charged with trespassing and the story was dropped.
Many people first heard about the revolt against the TSA security measures last week when John Tyner threatened to have a TSA officer arrested if he “touched his junk”. However, First Officer Michael Roberts, a pilot with ExpressJet Airlines, refused a TSA body scanner at Memphis International Airport on October 28. At the time of the incident, he was in uniform and carrying FAA and airline credentials, flying from his home Memphis to his base in Houston. He was a pilot for Express Jet for 4 years, however the status of his job was unknown.when he made the rounds of the early morning talk shows including GMA and CNN.
It took a couple of people speaking out about being literally molested to inspire others who wanted to but were afraid. For instance a flight attendant has come forward, telling a local North Carolina news station that she was humiliated last August by a TSA officer that made her removed a prosthetic breast received after a bout with breast cancer from her bra.
As a result of many voicing their concerns, the DHS and TSA are already compromising on searches for some children and new rules for all pilots. For the rest of those who feel strongly opposed, continue to speak out – there is power in numbers.