Recent testing showed they were still failing to find “threatening items” over 80% of the time in randomized tests.
We can expect Congress to yell about this, and the TSA to change procedures some trivial amount in an attempt to “improve,” but that’s the wrong lesson here.
Here’s what we know:
- The TSA just failed another test by an enormous margin.
- The TSA has failed these tests repeatedly for 16 years.
- This means the TSA is absolutely not stopping most “forbidden items” from getting on planes.
- And yet, air travel is absurdly safe.
The only intellectually honest conclusion here is that the TSA is utterly, completely pointless. We’re spending billions but failing to stop even trivially “forbidden” items. Those items make it onto planes. Nobody dies. The TSA has never foiled an actual plot; all they do is confiscate liquids and nail clippers, and generally increase the hassle factor of flight.
Their efficacy in thwarting airborne terrorism might be debatable if they were shown to do even a C+ level job of their mission, but here we see the truth: They’re crap at their job, have ALWAYS been crap at their job, and yet air travel is absurdly, mind-bogglingly safe — and that safety has nothing to do with the TSA, and never has.
Security is always about balancing access with safety. We put up with some hassles in exchange for value. The TSA provides no value, but is constantly ramping up their hassle. This is a bad deal, and we need to end it.
End the TSA. Now. We’ve wasted billions on security theater in the last 16 years, and we have nothing to show for it except angry travelers and long lines.