TSA now is more concerned with human resource management and consolidating power and acting reactively instead of proactively,” the report declared. Moreover, the incorporation of TSA into the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has shrunk its status, making it “a tangential and inert unit within DHS’s massive structure.”
The report also addresses the inept attempt by TSA to screen airline passengers according to detection of behavior—mainly by trying to spot signs of stress or fear in a passenger. TSA has spent more than $800 million on screening passengers since 2007 by “observation techniques” and it says it needs another $1.2 billion over the next five years, according to committee data.
“Thus far, this program has been one of TSA’s largest failures,” the report maintained, citing inadequate scientific evidence that the technique works and especially the fact that known terrorists have been undetected in airports using the screening of passengers by observational technique, known as (SPOT).
The report said the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found 17 known terrorists traveled on 24 occasions through security at eight airports. Not one terrorist had been caught by the SPOT program, it added.
More than 25,000 security breaches have occurred in the past decade, according to the congressional report, as a result of the obviously inefficient measures taken by TSA. The report also said that although “two billion passengers had passed through airports between 2004 nd 2008, only 1,100 persons were arrested—none on terrorist charges.”
Members “are currently proposing new legislation to reform TSA,” Rep. Mica said.
“TSA must develop an expedited screening program using biometric credentials [Biometric identification uses a physical human characteristic such as a person’s fingerprint, voice pattern or retina images for identity verification] that would allow TSA to positively identify trusted passengers and crew members so that the agency can prioritize its screening resources based on risk.
“TSA will never be able to function as a truly risk-based organization until the agency can differentiate between passengers based on levels of risk,” the report concluded.
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