This editorial from the Savannah Morning News makes the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that all the stories about the incompetence of Mineta’s TSA must be a disinformation campaign to confuse terrorists and lull them into false bravado.
- There was the security screener at Los Angeles International Airport who confiscated a 2-inch toy gun that belonged to a G.I. Joe doll carried by a child. This followed a report that government testers had successfully smuggled REAL weapons past security checkpoints at major airports one out of every four attempts.
Days later, a mother carrying an infant through security at Kennedy International in New York was forced to drink the breast milk she had pumped into bottles for the baby’s flight. Despite the fact that drinking directly from the bottle could contaminate the milk with germs and make it undrinkable for the child, the security guard refused the mother’s request to dab some of the liquid on her arm and lick it off to prove it wasn’t some kind of explosive or corrosive agent. The guard cited federal policy.
…Hiring standards (for air marshalls) have reportedly been lowered so much, one disillusioned marshal compared the job to “mall security.” According to USA Today, applicants don’t have to pass a difficult marksmanship course that used to be the critical test for the program.
Plus, many new hires allegedly were given guns and badges and put aboard flights before extensive background checks were completed.
The irony of that is that the same federal agency responsible for such lax standards for marshals (the Federal Aviation Administration) also opposes arming airline pilots on the grounds that they can’t be trusted to responsibly use firearms. Never mind that the qualifications for being a pilot of a commerical jetliner are far more stringent than what the FAA apparently has instituted for marshals.
Marshals complain that they must adhere to such a strict dress code that these supposedly undercover agents are easy to spot among regular passengers. That makes them potential targets to unarmed terrorists who could gang up on a marshal, grab his weapon and commandeer a plane.
And then the kicker:
- If that’s Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta’s idea of tougher security measures, he deserves a one-way ticket out of town.