Friday, March 17, 2006

Another Day, Another Failure For Transportation Security Administration

Security screeners at 21 U.S. airports failed to find bomb-making materials during recent government tests, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

Federal agents carrying materials that could be used to make bombs escaped detection in airport screening during tests conducted between October and January.

"In all 21 airports tested, no machine, no swab, no screener anywhere stopped the bomb materials from getting through. Even when investigators deliberately triggered extra screening of bags, no one stopped these materials," the report said. For security reasons, the names of the airports involved in the report will not be released.

Congress requested the investigation from the non-partisan GAO -- the watchdog arm of Congress -- to determine the vulnerability of U.S. airlines to a suicide bomber using cheap and easy-to-obtain materials.

The Transportation Security Administration had no comment on the report but said in a statement that detecting explosive materials and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) at the checkpoint was the agency's top priority. Of course, making something a priority and actually accomplishing a goal are two different things.

***

The findings of the report indicate that even three years after its creation, the TSA remains ineffective.

The TSA has been previously been criticized by the GAO for failing to meet a series of deadlines, for such things as creating a plan to deploy bomb-detection machines at airports. TSA has also been in the middle of turf wars with other Homeland Security agencies, leading to delays on such things as developing anti-tampering technology for shipping containers and deciding which databases to use to track foreigners and cargo entering the country.

The TSA claims it has a lack of man-power, and a lack of training. And it faces too many deadlines. Others say it has been underfunded.

All the excuses in the world won't mean much if the GAO test results are duplicated by terrorists. Homeland Security, itself a frequent target of criticism for ineptitude, should get its act together before it's too late. To steal a quote from Condoleeza Rice, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

7 Comments:

Blogger thewaronterrible said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again.
Bush does not really care about national security or protecting Americans from anything, not when he has "bigger" budget priorities such as Iraq.
I'd like to hear what these Bush apologists (such as Trinity and 9-11 Firefighter) would have to say about the above JABBS report.
Y'know, conservatives who conveniently overlook the 9-11 Commission report having issued Bush failing grades for implementing necessary homeland security measures.
Y'know the ones who are nevertheless so insistent Bush engages in torture and illegal domestic wiretapping because he has protecting Americans from terrorists "on his mind each and every day."

12:33 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Okay I am going to take "preemptive" action to shatter any conservative talking lines that it is the Democrats who are actually weak on national security.
Here we have documented four historically accurate, factual instances courtesy of Media Matters where Republicans defeated Democratic efforts in congress to improve port security.

* In 2003, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) proposed an amendment to the 2004 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill to provide $460 million for port security. The Senate rejected a motion -- which required a three-fifths majority to pass -- to allow a vote on the amendment, by a 43-50 vote. Forty-nine of the 50 members voting against the motion were Republicans.
* In 2003, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) proposed an amendment to the 2004 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill to provide $70 million for research and development to stop nuclear materials from entering U.S. ports. The Senate rejected a motion -- which required a three-fifths majority -- to allow a vote on the amendment, by a 45-51 vote. Fifty of the 51 senators voting against the motion were Republicans.
* In 2003, Sen. Ernest Hollings proposed an amendment to the 2004 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill to increase port security funding by $300 million. Senators voted down the measure by a 50-48 vote. Forty-nine of the 50 members who voted to table the amendment were Republicans.
* In 2004, Schumer proposed an amendment to appropriate an additional $150,000 for port security research and development grants. The Senate rejected a motion -- which required a three-fifths majority to pass -- to allow a vote on the amendment, by a 50-46 vote. Forty-five of the 46 members voting against the motion were Republicans.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous havocmom said...

They don't seem to have trouble finding busy young women to harass or little old people to pick on.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous MadMaddie said...

Isn't that the truth.... bet they can still find knitting needles and toenail clippers or the underwire in braas

2:36 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

they're dysfunctional and people have said as much. it starts at the top. chertoff is not the right guy for his job, so why should we assume anyone beneath him is competent?

2:37 PM  
Anonymous MindPilot said...

They can't find bomb material being taken on an airliner but those bomb-sniffing dogs can sure as hell nail that hot dog cart.

More proof that this whole terrorism thing is a scam.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

they also reduced their workload by no longer looking for pocket knives, scissors and razor blades.

2:38 PM  

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