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.

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