TSA Rolls Out New Strategy: Make Passengers Miss More Flights, Don’t Make Us Any Safer

Amidst revelations that the TSA misses bombs and weapons about 95% of the time, I predicted (and feared) this would mean a crackdown at the checkpint.

And indeed the new head of the TSA declared they needed to become less efficient.

Now the TSA is planning its overhaul.

The new administrator of the beleaguered Transportation Security Administration said the agency would make several changes to security and screening procedures as part of an overhaul to address glaring lapses over the past few months.

Peter V. Neffenger, who took over the agency this month, said in an interview that the T.S.A. would retrain thousands of screeners to better detect weapons and other illegal items, scale back a program that allows people who have not signed up for background checks to use expedited security lines and more aggressively police airports’ oversight of security badges.

This will increase checkpoint delays but won’t make us any safer.

More rigorous screening will make security even more of a hassle for travelers, and inevitably, more of them will miss their flights. Whether it will also make the nation safer from terrorism is an open question. As Wonkblog has previously reported, the limited data available suggests that in response to security at airports, terrorists just carry out their attacks elsewhere, and no lives are saved on the whole.

A few bad apples who in no way undermine the hard work that thousands of men and women at the TSA do to keep us safe, day in and day out.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. In a bit of good news, at least less ‘managed inclusion’ is a bonus for GE/TSAPre users…

  2. And we have no one to thank except those who brought weapons or boarded the plane without a ticket for the sake of proving a point.

    Personally, this doesn’t affect me much as I have GE, but we have to have some kind of rigid security controls in place (whether it is the TSA or a contractor) after that has happened including people bringing guns then proceeding to brag via media that they “outsmarted” the security agencies.

    In the end, all that does is make things harder for everyone involved.

  3. *after everything that has happened

    Don’t know why that part got omitted, probably manual human error on my part. Also I want to point out that “everything” includes the extreme hijacking cases all the way down to the frivolous things that has happened like the security consultant who claimed he gained access to the cockpit control via the IFE system.

  4. I have to admit, when I think TSA, the biggest problem that leaps to mind is that they’re just too efficient.

  5. I agree with Sam above. For those of us with GE/TSAPre, this is actually sort of good news.

  6. A little off subject, but with the per passenger fee tsa collects, I would bet they are making a profit in the busier air ports. ( or if not a profit, finding more ways to waste the money like most gov. operations )

  7. So now you’re a TSA fan?

    While I have no animosity towards most TSA employees, I would be hard pressed to characterize their work as “hard,” much less that it keeps anyone safe. I’d wager a well-trained monkey (or more likely, a sniffer dog) would have a lower detection failure rate than your average low-paid TSA drone. With less intrusiveness…

    Nobody is forced to undergo a more rigorous background check, but one can’t expect to use an expedite lane any more than someone who wants to pay cash in a easypass/fastrak toll lane.

  8. Perhaps this is why I and the three people after me were “randomly” selected after/by the metal detector to do the “normal” scan in Portland on Sunday. Of course *that* guy needed to calibrate the machine first. And then pat down everyone that went through it. From what I could tell the non-precheck security was even more annoying.

  9. At SFO a week ago there was only 1 TSA agent checking boarding passes and allowing travelers to continue on to the nude-o-scopes. And he was only checking people from the premium line, so the regular line didn’t move for 20 minutes. I counted 4 agents that were just standing around and they said they couldn’t help because they weren’t certified. To match an ID to a boarding pass, verify date, and make a few circles and useless scribbles on the boarding pass. And of course we had just gotten off a JAL F ticket but were on a WN ticket back home. Unbelievable.

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