But an even more interesting policy statement was made in the GOP platform that Congress should begin considering seriously.
“The platform also calls for turning many of the functions of the Transportation Security Administration over to private businesses to provide security at airports throughout the U.S.,” the Bloomberg news agency reported.
It’s as simple as that. The TSA’s own creator says it’s time to disband the seemingly all-powerful agency. And it’s not just about the well-publicized granny groping that makes the news.
“They’ve been accused of rampant thievery, spending billions of dollars like drunken sailors, groping children and little old ladies, and making everyone take off their shoes,” reports Human Events. “But the real job of the tens of thousands of screeners at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is to protect Americans from a terrorist attack. Yet a decade after the TSA was created following the September 11 attacks, the author of the legislation that established the massive agency grades its performance at D-.”
That author is Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.
“The whole program has been hijacked by bureaucrats,” says Mica, who chairs the House Transportation Committee. ““It mushroomed into an army. It’s gone from a couple-billion-dollar enterprise to close to $9 billion.”
“They’ve failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years,” he says. “Everything they have done has been reactive. They take shoes off because of (shoe-bomber) Richard Reid, passengers are patted down because of the diaper bomber, and you can’t pack liquids because the British uncovered a plot using liquids. It’s an agency that is always one step out of step.”
Before Sept. 11, 2001, of course, screening was done by the airlines themselves. And even now, there’s a pilot program called the Screening Partnership Program (SPP) that allows 16 airports to conduct their own checkpoint screening. But TSA head John Pistole has shot down any expansion, because he says “I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time.”
And his staff have often claimed that privatizing TSA duties would be “unsafe.”
But as the Heritage Foundation notes, “The insinuation, however, that effective security can be accomplished only through a government-directed and run operation is ludicrous. Privately run security operates around the country in a variety of sectors and yields excellent results.”
Mica himself agrees.
“They need to get out of the screening business and back into security. Most of the screening they do should be abandoned,” he says. “I just don’t have a lot of faith at this point.”
The Republican platform, like most party documents, will be quietly laid aside until the revision process starts (at the county level) in the next election cycle. But it shouldn’t.