“Anyone boarding an aircraft should feel maybe only a teeny tiny bit safer than if there were no TSA at all.”
The author of those words should know: He (or she) used to be a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey.
An article by this anonymous former screener in the New York Post paints a devastating portrait of an agency that employs incompetents, enforces arbitrary regulations, and engages in what security expert Bruce Schneier calls “security theater”: public actions taken in the name of security that actually do nothing to make people safer.
Government officials often call TSA screeners “a first-class line of defense in the war on terror,” observes the author. In fact, the author points out, one needn’t even have a high school diploma or GED to get a job as a screener. “These are the employees who could never keep a job in the private sector. I wouldn’t trust them to walk my dog.”
Most screeners aren’t really concerned with airport security, the author says. They are there for the paycheck – $15 an hour to start, plus “tons of overtime” filling in for no-shows – and the benefits, including generous amounts of vacation and sick time and a near impossibility of being fired unless they get caught stealing from passengers. Supervisors, it seems, care little about what screeners do – as long as they don’t chew gum on duty.
Another benefit (for male screeners): “a lot of ogling of female passengers.” The author advises women to…