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TSA Gets A Pat-Down on Screener Privatization
Posted By Jena McNeill On June 3, 2011 @ 6:00 pm In Protect America | 20 Comments
Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released a scathing report  that deconstructed the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) claims regarding the Screening Partnership Program (SPP).
The SPP, created under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, grants airports the ability to opt out  of using federal screeners and instead rely on private screeners to perform security functions.
TSA back in January cancelled expansion of the SPP and declined to approve any more applications for airports seeking to privatize. TSA Administrator John Pistole stated that he did “not see any clear or substantial advantage” in expanding the program further.
It is doubtful that most Americans would agree. Frustration over TSA’s approach to security is at an all-time high. From wholesale screening of travelers—forcing Americans to choose between a full body scan or a pat-down—to stopping programs that actually provide better customer service, TSA’s aviation security strategy is highly suspect .
The committee’s report makes a pretty compelling case to say that privatization of screening functions makes absolute sense. Here a few of the highlights:
TSA, for its part, has made a very half-hearted justification for why SPP should not continue. The government has claimed that the SPP is more expensive—yet it never included training costs or the deployment of the National Deployment Force. TSA also never studied how efficient the screeners performed.
Unfortunately, the motives behind this decision were embarrassingly transparent when TSA moved shortly thereafter to engage in limited collective bargaining for federal screeners .
Efforts to placate labor unions shouldn’t form the basis of security policy. As committee chairman John Mica (R–FL) stated, “TSA needs to get out of the personnel business and get in the security business.”
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/06/03/tsa-gets-a-pat-down-on-screener-privatization/
URLs in this post:
 scathing report: http://transportation.house.gov/News/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1291
 opt out: http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/optout/index.shtm
 highly suspect: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/02/tsa-privatization-freeze-more-politics-than-security
 collective bargaining for federal screeners: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/02/Unionizing-Airline-Screeners-Endangers-National-Security
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