I read a fascinating article entitled "HOMELAND SECURITY HASN’T MADE US SAFER," written by Anne Applebaum, a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate. It was in the January/February issue of Foreign Policy magazine. The article criticized the massive spending of time and money by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Applebaum aimed her barbs right at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with the comment: "As for the TSA, I am not aware of a single bomber or bomb plot stopped by its time-wasting procedures."
I started thinking about it, and even as a pretty well informed customs and international trade attorney, I could not recall a single incident either. I have seen the indignities of TSA personnel at the airport force handicapped and elderly people out of their wheelchairs. I have also been the victim of TSA officers groping around my private areas during one of their random, ‘enhanced pat down’ searches. For a rollicking good laugh, I encourage you to read the official TSA Blog. People say the strangest things about their air travel experiences to the TSA from the supposed privacy and safety of their computers.
The TSA submitted a budget request of $8.1 billion for fiscal year 2012. With the billions of dollars spent by both the Bush and Obama Administrations over the past 10 years in the ‘War on Terrorism’ and in support of ‘homeland security,’ the question of whether or not the TSA’s 43,000 trained and certified Transportation Security Officers make us safer through its passenger and baggage screening procedures is still debatable.
I would still like to meet the idiot savant who came up with the 3-1-1 TSA rule about carrying liquids aboard an airplane. I can’t figure out why we had the technology to send men to the moon in 1969, but in 2011 still have to take our shoes off before walking through a TSA x-ray machine. I guess the silver lining in all this is that, relatively speaking, the air and ocean cargo screening procedures by the TSA are much better thought out and reasonable.