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The annual budget for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a little shy of $8 billion. By government standards this is chicken feed.

It is approximately 2000th of one percent of the overall federal budget. Yet it is still greater than the entire budgets of New Hampshire, Vermont, Alaska, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Idaho and Delaware.

Just what are we who are footing the bill getting for our $8 billion?

The TSA is supposed to be responsible for overseeing security for highways, railroads, buses, mass transit systems, pipelines and ports. However, the overwhelming majority of its budget and attention goes to airport/aviation security. The TSA is responsible for screening passengers and baggage at more than 450 U.S. airports.

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Therefore, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that the more attention that is paid to one aspect of any given task would directly correlate with greater success.

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You would think so, but this the federal government we’re talking about…so, not so much.

In fact in any other endeavor in life, one would have to make a real effort to fail as badly as what appears to come naturally to the TSA.

Over the years we’ve seen and heard audits done by Homeland Security, the parent agency of the TSA. Undercover Homeland agents attempt to sneak any and every kind of contraband through TSA airport screening areas. More often than not with great success – which directly equates to the great failure of the government screening process.

Thanks to the George W. Bush administration, airport screening was taken from the hands of private contractors and given to the federal government after 9/11. Great idea, because we know no one does a job better and more efficiently than the feds.

Since taking over, the record of the TSA has gone from bad to worse.

“In 2006, agents with fake bombs got past TSA screeners 75% of the time at Los Angeles International and 60% of the time at Chicago O’Hare — two of the busiest airports. The public didn’t learn about these results until 2007, when USA Today 
managed to get its hands on a classified report. TSA officials dismissed the findings by saying that the tests were too hard.”

Yes, I’m sure Abdul the bomb-maker will give them a do-over if they don’t find his explosive device the first time around. Screener: “Okay Abdul – you’re good to go. Abdul: “Wait – are you sure you don’t want to take a closer look?”

Yet at the same time, the report showed that, “San Francisco International Airport screeners, who worked for a private company instead of the TSA, missed only 20% of the bombs. Small wonder they didn’t want the report to go public.”

But that was over a decade ago. Surely they must have learned from past mistakes. Again – these are the feds, so no…not so much.

Just last week, a source told ABC News that the failure rate of TSA screening is still disturbing high – higher than the findings in 2006.

“When ABC News asked the source if the failure rate was 80 percent, the response was, ‘You are in the ballpark.’” I’ll bet my last dollar that the 80% guess is way low.

In 2015, ABC News reported that, “secret teams from the DHS found that the TSA failed 95 percent of the time to stop inspectors from smuggling weapons or explosive materials through screening.”

I’d like to say that this is outrageous, but I won’t. Anyone with a brain should expect this of our government. They are incompetent at virtually everything they do, and wholly unaccountable. I suppose that is the outrageous part – that there appears to be nothing we can do about it. And their answer will be to just throw more money at it.

Well forget that. I want a refund.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

The Common Constitutionalist

Brent Smith, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a constitutional conservative who advocates for first principles – the founders' original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy and a martial arts expert. Smith considers himself just an average Joe with no formal journalism background – but rather than simply complain about the state of our nation, he took to the Internet to battle the left.


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