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TSA Cooked The Books For Years On Costs, Federal Vs Private Screening

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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a letter to Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) that confirms the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has used faulty data and withheld information when evaluating and comparing the costs of the all-federal screening model and an (avstop.com) 기타...

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cheshire
Unbelievable. I predict that not one single person will suffer any ill effect from having done this, either losing their job or any kind of prosecution, and also that the current arrangement will continue and the argument for continuing it will be that regrettably it's too late to do anything about it now and just additional bluster and disinformation as needed to keep things the way they want them to be, regardless of the costs and drawbacks.
cheshire
And remember, the TSA pretty much as it exists today was visualized, legislated, and birthed under the Bush Administration.
zcolescott
Something about absolute power springs to mind after reading this...hmm.
PhoenixAF24
I am not surprised for one - the Federal Government has never been able to do anything as efficiently as the private sector, so the only way to hide the truth is to cook the books :)
chris13
Have to agree 100% with Brian on this one. There is almost nothing the Feds do that private companies can't do better, faster, and cheaper.

Cal - The TSA (and DHS) came into being with all the post-9/11 hysteria. But let's not forget, it was Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) that said "You don't professionalize unless you Federalize."
jasscarff
Bureaucracy does seem to breed inefficiency. However, privatizing presents its own set of problems. Private companies that replace government-run services can buy political influence and give kickbacks to get sweetheart deals or exclusive contracts. Private prisons come to mind. Some of the commissary and security work in Iraq was given to private contractors--Halliburton and Blackwater--with remarkably bad results. The key is oversight. If contracts are given competitively and the work is monitored carefully then we can harness the efficiency of for-profit organizations. If we just trust in the inborn virtue of private businesspeople we're in trouble.
cheshire
@jasscarff: That's a very reasoned response, James, and I agree with you. Privatization is not a panacea and rent seeking by private companies as poignantly warned by Eisenhower in '61, is endemic.

At least with privatization there is or can be competition; without it, you get an entrenched, overreaching, and largely unaccountable bureaucracy, cf. the US Postal Service, the US education system, the FCC and the BATFE.
PhoenixAF24
I have to agree with James and Cal on their responses. This has turned into a larger and very positive discussion. I have to say that this is an example that shows that despite initial contradicting opinions, we have a fair discussion on the topic that is reasonable and allows me to enjoy being a FlightAware member.
xmacfly
Distortion and miss statement?? Faulty data?? Whoever ends up doing this job needs some accountability, oversight and most of all credibility. All missing at present. Let's get past the hysteria and put some appropriate and relevant processes in place - key words appropriate - relevant!
chuck1prillaman
TSA is ineffectual. It decided unilaterally that it had the authority to grope your grandmother's and sons genitalia. It has been nothing more than a CYA policy for politicians to hide behind. No economic philosophy arguments are necessary to see that this abomination should be dispensed with and the airlines/airports should provide and pay for security. That they even had the opportunity to cook their books is ridiculous.
northliner
And now the TSA will be unionized??? Unions were created to help and support workers who were not compensated well, poor working conditions, etc. How does any federal employee meet this criteria in the past 25 years?
thans625
The TSA does not do a better job than the contractors that were once in place. I know from experience I was once a contractor screener. The TSA costs are much higher than the contractors their salaries and benfits are much higher as it is through out the government. All that was needed was for the government to improve upper management to prevent the contractors from hiring non-US Citizens because they could get them cheaper. We had a lot of Muslims working in the TSA from Pakistan and Egept and somalia and I bet there are a lot of them working there today.
tcavin
tcavin 0
Let's get rid of these mall cops at the airport. I'll take my chances with the privatized security and avoid the bureaucrats.
markaz
markaz 0
I mean, is anyone really shocked by this? When accountability is non-existent you do and say whatever you please because you wrote the rulebook and carry the big stick. As long as screening is controlled by a branch of the Feds, the status quo rules and the inefficiencies (including TSA agents) will continue to grow.
fabere
fabere 0
This is just another case of what "our" government has been doing, while we haven't been looking! I challenge everyone to scrutinize EVERYTHING run by our government. As a government retiree, I can tell you that the abuse runs long, and runs deep. "Use it or loose it" comes to mind. We the American people have been asleep at the wheel for decades. Now that a few of us have woken from that comfortable slumber (due mostly to the fact that our current congressional/governmental spend and tax policies are finally getting our attention!), we're now amazed, dazed, and confused about the theft of OUR hard-earned tax money! This all reeks of the 70s and 80s-era $800 coffeepots and $5000 toilet seats (or was it $5000 coffeepots and $800 toilet seats?). I fear that the good ole boys who managed to keep their seats during the last waive of elections are only continuing "business as usual." You only have to listen to how Senator Schumer (sp?) encourages Republicans to go against the over-whelming desire of the Tea Party-backed politicians - and just pass the dang legislation! I'm certain he knows what's best for us. We surly have not clue. It's up to WE THE PEOPLE to keep these guys honest! Get involved in YOUR country! Keep those Beltway Bandits honest (HA!).
mbbancroft
@cheshire: Privitization does NOT mean competition. That's been proven time and again, especially in 2008 when the US hit the skids. The "free market will regulate itself" mantra is a laissez-faire propaganda slogan that needs to be called out. All companies seek to become monopolies, and the larger they are, the faster it happens.

In general, I would always rather put my faith in a democratic governement than a private corporation. (If the government is corrupt, it's a separate issue that has a solution). Democratic government has a mechanism for even my input: Corporations don't, - unless I'm a wealthy majority stockholder and it's puclicly traded. Let's stop repeating propaganda about the free market, OK? There are a lot of things that I don't want to trust private corporations with, including matters of public safety. For every crusty anecdote someone has about a lazy government worker or bloated program run amok, I can cite 5 or 6 about private companies' that I've dealt with. Who could I call for relief if I'd been victimized or abused in some way? A Government agency, that's who!
AABABY
AABABY 0
TSA is one of greatest scams ever put over on the people of the USA.
sseeplane
why do I have to continue to pay for the failings of government agencies...
thans625
The person that wrote this is dreaming:


In general, I would always rather put my faith in a democratic governement than a private corporation. (If the government is corrupt, it's a separate issue that has a solution). Democratic government has a mechanism for even my input: Corporations don't. Poppycock

We have more control over contractors than gov if we did obamcare would not have been passed in spite that 70 percent of the people did not want it. Carz would not hve been placed in key postion to further liberal agendas. Obama is lout of control he shows the years that he let Rev Wright brain wash him.
BrianHenryFW
Q: When is President Obama going to scrap the TSA and replace it with something sensible - like "profiling?" If the President did this, he would probably win re-election "hands-down" - as nothing has pi##@d-off the American Public more, and nothing else has shown just how dumb “a good idea” can be - by allowing this failed Agency to continue.
grimreaper
If airport security is privatized, the company winning the ("low") bid would probably have to hire retired police officers (who already receive a pension and [usually] have health benefits as a condition of their retirement...lowered costs for the private entity). Damn, think of it: seasoned professionals, with tons of street-savvy, looking for criminals. What would we, on this forum, do? We wouldn't be able to complain about full-body scanners, and grandmother being groped, anymore. Gosh, the collective centuries of street-smarts and "that sixth sense" would put big X-ray machine manufacturers out of business. A possible benefit: common-sense security, increased efficiency, and lowered costs...to say nothing of the possible increased sense of public safety? Perhaps (even just a little bit) better than the current system?
markaz
markaz 0
grimreaper + BrianHenryFW = a plan. However, ‘profiling’ was the hot button of the recently enacted Arizona Immigration Law. By the time the media turned it into a national story the Feds stepped in and threatened the state. Obama went so far as to comment on the law saying it threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.” Now translate his comment to the TSA screening issue and tell me what the odds are that profiling will be used as a screening method.
kb9uwu
"We have more control over contractors than gov if we did obamcare would not have been passed in spite that 70 percent of the people did not want it. Carz would not hve been placed in key postion to further liberal agendas. Obama is lout of control he shows the years that he let Rev Wright brain wash him." - Anthony Hansberger

LOL
Flightaware35
Privatization will certainly bring in more operational efficiencies, but it will need to be accompanied by additional oversight - to coordinate intelligence information, flyer data analysis, coordination with other countries on policies and procedures, liaisons and data sharing with airlines etc. Etc. So airport screening is much beyond the screeners that man the security lines. You can privatize the screeners themselves, but having 300 different agencies manning airports across the country, just because privatization is the mantra and it is the season of anything government is bad, is not the solution either.

The key is to find a way to drive operational efficiencies in the way the current system operates.
drdek
drdek 0
Hello Hello:

Frankly, I prefer to examine the data. With TSA in charge, we have not had a single incident.

When a private contractor was carrying these functions, ICTS and its subsidiary, Huntleigh carried out the security duties at Boston's Logan Airport on September 11, 2001, where two of the four planes hijacked for use in the attacks originated.

ICTS was also responsible for security at the Charles de Gaulle Airport where Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber", boarded American Airlines Flight 63 in December 2001.

ICTS and its two subsidiaries, ISEC and PI were responsible for allowing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 with explosive materials.

Simply put, you get what you pay for.
kb9uwu
Facts! Shhh David!! :) kudos
mbbancroft
No, Mr. Hansberger, I was not dreaming when I wrote my comment, but perhaps you’d had a few too many when you replied. Your raving comments are just another anti-Obama rant, which we’ve all heard before (usually written, spelled and punctuated at the same 6th grade level as yours.)
“We have more control over contractors than gov if we did obamcare would not have been passed in spite that 70 percent of the people did not want it.”
When was the last time you were able to change anything at your local electric, cable or gas utility, or health insurance company? Security contractors in Iraq bilked the US out of billions and shot local civilians for fun. They did it in our name and put the videos on Youtube; - how much could any of us do about that? Nothing. What did you do to punish BP for trashing our Gulf of Mexico, or Exxon for ruining a chunk of our Alaskan coastline for decades to come? I can go on and on because things happen daily. Big corporations run much of our everyday lives and they take advantage of people every day.
When big corporations roll over little people their only recourse is with government. Some people don’t seem to get that. As long as no corporation hurts them personally, they think there shouldn’t be any government regulations, but as soon as it happens they cry foul and want to know why their damn government isn’t right on top of their problem. The wealthy pay less tax now than they have in decades, yet we keep hearing the whining about taxes.
I’m sick of all the cranky self-interested carping about government and taxes. I learned a truth when I was a kid in social studies class that has not changed: “the government” is US, and we get the government we vote for. Until we quit voting without looking, or voting a straight party ticket because we pigeonhole the other guys, or because we buy into bumper-sticker ideas, we will continue to get clowns from either party. I also learned in civics class that no one likes paying taxes and everyone wants them to be used wisely but they are necessary for “the common good” ( it’s a “socialist” phrase from the Constitution). Paying taxes is a patriotic duty. We all want them spent wisely and not squandered, and nobody likes tax cheats. There are still things that government should do, and can do cheaper. I’m not defending TSA’s lousy customer service, or any of it’s other issues that need to be fixed. I just don’t want a private contractor in charge of a big chunk of national security. Just because something isn’t perfect doesn’t mean you throw the baby out with the bath water. You can fix what’s wrong by holding people accountable. And as for the theories that private companies can always do things cheaper: The only way a contractor can do the exact same job cheaper than government is to pay people less, cut staff, or cut corners. The Government doesn’t have to make a profit! A contractor does.
othoudt
I'm still shocked that Haliburton isn't running TSA!
mangerj
wow, the government more efficient than private enterprise? I've never seen that, please explain.
In the mean time, we won't change TSA unless we insist on our Congress and elected officials start flying on the same commercial flights we all fly on. Once they get a taste of the inefficiency and have to waith in line and take off their shoes the fur will fly. I was recently on a commercial flight with Dick Cheney. He isn't affraid to be out in public and takes his chances with the rest of us. Some guys have a real pair I guess...
kb9uwu
5 deferment Cheney has a real pair? Haha, good one! True patriot!
drdek
drdek 0
And why did we invade Iraq?
kb9uwu
Because Cheney has a pair, David! J/k
timtimely
K. Shupp 0
Realize that the outsourcing of private security to alien-led corporations (ICTS / Huntleigh owned by Israeli co.) does us no favors. Too many times a non-USA firm is involved with critical security details or some situation ignores foreign ownership realities (Boeing vs. Airbus military production of refueling tankers, for instance) as a possible vulnerability that no military strategist can well ignore.
Scum-sucking bribe masters that get cushy no-bid gov't contracts exist because the gov't pretends to have done oversight, and the secrecy being expanded will not improve the product of stinking recycled scum such as blackwater changing their name but not the diaper load.
That does not mean that we can't have decent private co. results, or that gov't-run programs are always good or bad, but seem to drift towards somewhere between pathetic and horrendously wasteful- on a good day.
With the same bribe-takers in charge of power consolidation in a criminal obamanation- what makes anyone think that the savior of victims of private company abuse is through the tainted bureaucracy- except hypnotic trance creation of messiah complex?
No answer to the question of who can rescue the victims of gov't abuse at the hands of TSA goonsquad etc.- just worried about corp. victims, huh?

Every dollar wasted could have been monumentally more productive (for the taxpayer citizens serious about the future for their children) by adding to the shrinking Border Patrol working the front lines, not groping Grammy in the air conditioned terminal.

Rather interesting that the head Pistole shoots self in foot by claiming:
On January 28th, TSA Administrator Pistole denied the pending contract screening program requests of five airports and announced a hold on expanding the program beyond the current 16 airports, stating that there was not “any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time.”

Translation: bribe levels and favoritism (future cushy private sector jobs- see FDA workers leaving to get $$$ private consulting gigs to schmooze former compadres back at FDA; can anyone say revolving door?) have not been agreed upon to satisfactory conclusion.
drdek
drdek 0
Interesting response. Seems the Israelis' wouldn't trust this company to do their own security... cost effective or not. They have the most secure airport in the world (by a substantial long shot). They use police and IDF soldiers... all government employees. The bottom line is that they don't shortchange security... you get what you pay for.
rocketman32
Privatization means profit, there's no economy for the citizenry whose representatives enacted the law, politicians love to privatize are simply looking for campaign funding. We all lose.

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