John Stossel has written fantastic piece on the Transportation “Security” Administration (emphasis added throughout).

Maybe it stands for “Thousands Standing Around.”

Under the guise of making us safer, government has greatly expanded its role in airport security.

But according a report released today, we’re not very much safer. Since November 2001, there have been 25,000 security breaches in our nation’s airports. And these are just the breaches that we know about. A few days ago, a man managed to fly from Boston to Newark with a stun gun.

Like most failed government programs, many people think that the solution is to throw more money at the problem, even though the first version of the TSA spent far more than the private screeners they replaced, and since then the TSA’s budget has increased from $4.7 billion in 2002 to $7.8 billion [66%!] in 2011.

All that extra money gives them more opportunity to do ever more invasive searches

The answer to this problem is the same as most others–allow competition.

By privatizing airport security, we can make the TSA more accountable. The government can fire a bad private security firm, but government never fires itself. Even the TSA knows that privatization works. Their own leaked study found that private security works at the “same level or better” than TSA screeners. In one test, TSA employees at Los Angeles Airport missed 75% of explosives used by inspectors to test screeners. But San Francisco screeners, who work for a private company, missed only 20%.

Despite this internal TSA study that had results reaching back into 2002 TSA Administrator John Pistole lied:

I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time.

This is not really about security. It is about power and control. If it were about security, the TSA would voluntarily go away be replaced by superior private contractors rather than acting as Napoleon’s attack dogs.


  • Troy La Mana

    Airports should be on a 9/10 footprint… of those located in Israel.

  • Edgar Harris

    This is definitely an issue that cuts across the whole political spectrum, in regard to both abuses and outrage. I think a heavy handed approach by the Government is absolutely the wrong solution. In fact it seems this is an issue that most liberals, conservatives, and moderates can agree on. The rhetoric in the article you cited leaned a bit on the Conservative side. It’s unfortunate that the author would use rhetoric that is likely to alienate potential allies.

    • Scott A. Robinson

      I think John Stossel would be offended to be called a “Conservative”.

      • Edgar Harris

        His throw money at it statement is pretty reminiscent of something Rush Limbaugh would say. Since I’ve heard these types of accusations mostly on the Rush Limbaugh show I’m probably associating it worth conservative rhetoric. So I’ll rescind my criticism, and say I totally agree with him, and I think it’s high time we had a less intrusive security policy at the airports.

  • dw

    “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” – Ben Franklin

    The terrorists won when the US Government created the TSA.

    • Promise Kept

      I believe, we, as a nation surrendered, when we bought into the idea that a government remedy surely COULDN’T be worse than what the terrorists have, and more threateningly, MIGHT do to us.

      Dubya, they don’t hate us for our freedoms anymore. The bipartisan written and applied, Patriot Act, has effectively plucked that jewel from our country’s crown.

      I have to believe that we can still peacefully take it back, but it takes all people of good will and good faith, inside and outside of government, reclaiming their conscience from those who would usurp it.