Bob Poole’s Aviation Security Newsletter always makes for a fascinating read. Yesterday’s issue led with the TSA’s failure to provide reasonable security procedures for airport vendors with ramp access to aircraft.
While the TSA focuses tremendous resources — 45,000 screeners — on passenger access to secure areas, there are only 358 people inspecting airport procedures covering the million airport and vendor employees with aircraft and secure terminal access.
- If TSA were refocused as a security research, policy-making, and regulatory agency, the vast majority of its screeners could be transferred to the airports or certified contractors. But some would remain at TSA to greatly beef up its inspection staff.
Think about it: unified security at each airport (the buck stops there!) and greatly strengthened arms-length oversight. That should produce much better security than we have today at airports.
Poole also raises concern about TSA overstepping its authority in regulating the business decisions of the nation’s airlines:
- Eyebrows were raised in June when newspapers reported that the TSA “tried to block JetBlue’s expansion into Mineta San Jose International Airport and warned airport officials that its passenger and baggage security system won’t be able to handle any significant expansion.” (San Jose Business Journal, 6-14-04). Rep. Mike Honda (D, CA) quickly raised the alarm, and a TSA spokesman equally quickly backpedaled.