The TSA is a fraud. The screening agents in airports do nothing to keep us safe. In fact, according to a thoroughly peer reviewed Cornell University study, by discouraging people from flying, they are increasing the automobile traffic death rate by as much as 1,200 per year (roughly equivalent to four fully loaded airliners) and costing the airline industry roughly $1 billion a year in ridership.
The scanners and pat-downs do nothing to keep us safe, and may, in fact, be injurious to human health. A Marquette College of Engineering study found that the radiation from the "new and improved" scanners was substantially higher than the TSA figures released, and, that it did, contrary to the TSA's findings, reach 29 individual organs within the human body. Common sense can tell you that mental health is going to suffer after a public probe-and-grope by mostly untrained workers who perhaps managed to graduate from high school.
Although the TSA is much more than just drones with scanners at airports, the rest of its activities are often equally useless. Agents at the seaports are spread so thin they are only able to check 1/100th of incoming shipments. The only demonstrably beneficial aspect of the service was the Federal Air Marshal Service, which, predictably, was underfunded, transferred to the INS, transferred back to the TSA, and has been responsible for the incredible inclusion/exclusion errors on the watch list.
The TSA was established by corrupt legislators for purely political motives and has since been controlled by corrupt appointees for their own personal gain. When it was put under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security (there's a misnomer for you), it merely became part of an even bigger boondoggle. It is a dog-and-pony show to give the illusion of safety; but its actions serve no real purpose. These thugs squeeze our private parts, intimidate us with threats, and dehumanize and humiliate us publicly. The worst part is that that seems to be their sole purpose. TSA officials state their mission is to make the public feel safe. Here's a better idea; actually do something to make us safe! There is absolutely no screening done on ground personnel. Catering services simply swipe a key card and have access to unsecured areas. There are numerous unprotected and unwatched ingresses to runways, jet ways, luggage passages and service ways. There are multiple instances of whistleblowers being fired and/or prosecuted for pointing out these flaws.
By the TSA's own reports from periodic test weapon investigations, they are failing miserably (a 70 percent failure rate as of 2005). They have refused to release any efficiency figures since then. The equipment they have wasted so much taxpayer money on is a scam to line the pockets of corrupt politicians (can you say "Michael Chertoff?") It is well-documented that heavy metal objects hidden in a side pocket are invisible to the full body scanners. It is inconceivable that the TSA is unaware of this, and, that consequently, any potential terrorist will also be aware of this. Our so-called representatives couldn't care less. How often do think a senator has to fly on a commercial liner?
We also have seemingly well-intentioned politicians suggesting we "privatize" airport security. Brilliant! In nearly every instance, with few exceptions throughout Europe, Africa and Latin America, privatization of inefficient public entities has led to rampant abuse and increased economic inequality. A check on the investment holdings of such politicians reveals their probable motives and where their loyalties lie. Does any reasonable person believe putting the same poorly trained goobers into Wackenhut or Pinkerton uniforms would be a positive step for anyone besides those companies? Do we want paramilitary groups and mercenaries beholden only to a company's profit and loss statement stationed on planes and trains for our protection?
Every study, every investigation and every review of the TSA shows how incompetent and meaningless they are. Should you try bringing up the subject, you will often hear the knee-jerk reactionaries screaming "9/11, 9/11!" Guess what? Screening measures currently in use at airports would have done nothing to prevent that tragedy. TSA apologists continually say, "Well, it's better than getting blown up." What an incredibly uninformed and nonsensical statement. Are we that shallow-thinking that we believe our only two choices are either getting blown up or being subjected to this abomination of what all honest experts say is nothing but "security theater"?
Another canard I've heard is that since nothing has happened, the enhanced screening must be working. Are there really that many people who lack the basic thinking skills to refute that logical fallacy? [I sleep with a Tootsie Roll up my nose so sharks won't eat me. It must be working.] Now they are trying to sell frequent flyers on a "trusted traveler" program. By submitting to an unreasonable personal invasion by the government--including a background check, interrogation (their word), and a $100 non-refundable fee--you can have your constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure by the government restored to you! Have we really all become such pathetic sheep?
There are simpler, cheaper and more secure ways to ensure travel safety than the smoke-and-mirrors approach currently employed. Armed air marshals aboard every airliner and guards for each airplane would accomplish more at a fraction of what we are spending now. Hire a few experts from El Al to train our personnel to observe, analyze and contain potential threats. It has worked for them for 30 years without incident. Having flown recently, I have been subjected first hand to the intimidation tactics which our government apparently sanctions. If you have not flown, spend a few minutes on YouTube to see just how deplorable and unnecessary the treatment of travelers is in our (once upon a time free) country. There may be no cure for stupidity, but at least we can try to stop promoting institutionalized idiocy.
Write your congressional representatives and senators and tell them you will not tolerate this indecent treatment of citizens. I am not a criminal, and it doesn't take a legal scholar to know that our government is constitutionally prohibited from preemptively treating citizens as such. Tell them that if they want your vote, they must disband this $8 billion criminal organization and replace it with some common sense alternatives.