Privatize the Transportation Security Administration
Following the 9/11 attacks, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has provided the majority of airport security screeners across the country. A number of airports however, (16 in a recent count) have replaced TSA screeners with private contractors. Kansas City International Airport was the first airport to use private screeners as opposed to the TSA. Kansas City Airport director Mark VanLoh said in an NPR article, “contract employees – are not federal employees; they’re not guaranteed a job for life. If they don’t meet performance goals, or maybe they’re consistently rude, or maybe they miss objects that go through the machine, they are terminated.”
Concerning the use of private screeners, GAO has stated, “The private screening under federal supervision works and performs statistically significantly better, so our main purpose here is in getting better screening and better performance, not to mention that we can get better cost for the taxpayer.” A House Transportation Committee report found that private screeners were 65 percent more productive compared with their TSA counterparts, and that the government might save as much as $1 billion over five years in using private screeners in the country’s 35 largest airports.
In addition, there are consistent reports of American citizens being abused by TSA agents. In April 2011 an 8-year-old boy was traveling with his family to Disneyland and was subjected to a full-body, invasive pat-down at a Portland,OR airport. Selena and Todd Drexel, from Kentucky were traveling with their three children, when the youngest, Anna was selected for a full body pat-down. Mrs. Drexel, Anna’s mother, requested that Anna be allowed to go back through the scanner and the agent refused to allow it. In the fall of 2011, two women in their 80s were traveling through New York’s Kennedy Airport and both were made to show screeners medical devices beneath their clothing,each were effectively strip-searched. Citizen’s constitutional rights are routinely violated and TSA remains unaccountable. Privatizing TSA begins the process to end these abuses