John King, USA

The latest political news and information on the most important stories affecting you.
February 17th, 2011
02:48 PM ET

Your Congress at work: Lawmaker calls TSA a 'failure... totally out of control'

Washington (CNN) – Here's something to think about the next time you're waiting in the airport security line: According the Republican Congressman John Mica of Florida, the people who are supposed to keep air travelers safe – aren't.

Mica ought to know: He's now the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. On the House floor this morning he begged members of Congress to get classified briefings on the Transportation Security Administration, the TSA.

"The failure of TSA puts this nation at risk," said Mica. He cited GAO reports on what he called the "total failure" of its behavior-recognition program, which was supposed to help security personnel spot suspicious behaviors among travelers.

"Get the classified briefing on the failure of the advanced technology," Mica continued. "They went out and bought a half a billion dollars worth of equipment, spent another half a billion to install it and the failure is dramatic. You can read that as members of Congress."

As for the TSA's controversial pat-downs of travelers, Mica says that program's a failure, too. "Everybody's getting pat downs. You think that's helpful? I implore members to get a classified briefing and see, again, the results of that failure."

Since you probably don't have the security clearances necessary to read the classified reports Mica talked about, let's consider the TSA bureaucracy.

Mica says it has "mushroomed" since it was founded after 9/11: "TSA has more employees than the Department of State, the Department of Education, and Labor, and Housing and Urban Development combined!"

He continued, "If you think the bureaucracy in Washington is bad, there are 9,233 non-screener employees at the airports across the country. There are only 400 airports in the program. That's 20 bureaucrats per airport, on average."

Mica's bottom line: "This agency is totally out of control." He intended to ask the House to approve cuts to TSA's budget but withdrew his request this morning, admitting his cuts "were not as surgical as they probably need to be."

But he promised to work with other members of Congress to "improve" TSA's mission.

Posted by
Filed under: JKUSA
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. jutta

    That was clearly a big deal for the manufacturer of these devices

    February 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  2. sb

    A few years ago some Congresspeople blew a tremendous amount of hot air about the financial crimes committed by bankers. They held hearings and dragged the CEOs of some of these banks before them in the hearings and ranted and raved and raged.

    What was done? Absolutely nothing. Bernie Madoff was a nice convenient fish to fry but the real financial crimes continue to go unpunished.

    In regards to TSA, there has been some huffing and puffing, a few flimsy bills have been offered.

    What has been done? Absolutely nothing.

    In fact, the house recently voted to EXTEND provisions of the patriot act – another monstrous legislative cancer violating the civil rights of citizens who are now presumed guilty until shown otherwise.

    TSA must be torn down. Airport security should be redesigned from scratch.

    The megalomaniacs running TSA have no conscience while scrambling your DNA with radiation, ogling your nude pictures, and putting their hands down your pants and feeling your privates. They have no qualms segregating people into first class and coach, allowing the former to bypass TSA screenings while forcing the latter through.

    The government, with its stellar record of failing to punish real wrongdoers, has also failed to provide an account of why the 2009 Christmas bomber was escorted on to his plane despite warnings from the guy's father that he was dangerous. Congress has also failed to investigate those who have profited from these DNA-rearranging contraptions.

    I don't expect Congress to gain any enlightenment soon. After all, Congress voted in the stimuluses that bought the DNA-scramblers.

    Firing the people heading TSA and making them stand in the unemployment line would be too lenient a punishment for them. Ditto for Congress.

    February 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  3. AFH

    In my opinion the entire program is worse than a waste. Flying has become an abominable chore. Our economy is suffering and we have not made that any better by discouraging people's travel and interrupting their ability to do business. In the mean time our freedoms suffer, our health is put at risk, billions are spent and our quality of life diminishes into what is beginning to look like a second world nation.

    We need drastic change in our country's leadership. It feels like the only thing our representatives know how to do any more is tackle a problem by sending money to their friends. I am thinking it is time to vote thrid party for everything. It doesn't matter which one, just as long as a message is sent to Washington: You guys are blowing it and we are done putting up with your shenanigans.

    February 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  4. Sharon

    You go on Mr. Mica! I have not flown since Decemember when they put those unconstitutional policies into place. My job makes me fly every week back and forth to the project site. I am not willing to be stripped searched or touched in such a vial manner. And this nonsence about people having to discuss their medical information with functionally illiterates just to get through the check point. I would like to see us go back to the pre-9/11 security. For goodness sake, no American citizen has blown up a plane.

    February 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  5. John

    One need only pass through an airport checkpoint and spend five (5) minutes observing TSA behavior to know something has gone amock with this agency, for for that matter our elected officials who sanctioned this agency. American taxpayers are paying for low waged low skilled novices to grope them and molest them at airport checkpoints – just for the sake of theater. Furthermore, our disconnected and unconcerned Congress has allowed the TSA to avoid issuing a radiation inspection report for over two (2) months – without anyone being forced to resign.

    Law abiding American taxpayers are tired of politicians and government bureaucrats like the TSA "handling" them figuratively and physically.

    February 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  6. Jim Carroll

    Why should the people of Iran wait for freedom?
    Now is the time for freedom. Why wait?

    Now is the time for jobs in America for the unemployed. Why wait? We can create money and bail out the banks. We can create money and put the unemployed to work producing goods and services equal to the new money created. Now is the time for the people of America to be camping in the areas where their congressman or congresswoman lives and at their down town offices. Now is the time! Why wait? You are as good as anyone else. Why wait for the Tea Party ignorance? You can and should have a job now! Email this to your friends and ask them to visit the Internet Free Press.

    February 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Putera

      Technically they can choose their laduoot (weapons and gear) to suit their needs so there is no standard laduoot. Common weapons used are the HK USP45, M4A1, HK MP5, HK23 which is a .45, MK43, M-16A2, shotguns, and many others of their choice and yes they also use the P226 among others. I don't know what they shot him with but a standard NATO 5.56 round will indeed do some serious damage. They even use AK's just depends on what the situation calls for and what each individual wants.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm |