DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson - June 2016 Porker of the Month
|DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson|
Since the beginning of 2016, airline passengers have been plagued with absurdly long lines at TSA security checkpoints. American Airlines estimated that since February, long lines at Chicago’s O’Hare airport alone led to 4,000 passengers missing flights. One of Secretary Johnson’s many feeble responses to this unprecedented and unnecessary problem was to tell passengers on May 13, 2016 to simply “contemplate increased wait times as you travel.” He pledged to hire more TSA officers, while admitting that the additional staff would not improve the lengthy wait times during the summer travel season. He assured air travelers that TSA would be asking airports for help with insignificant “nonsecurity” activities like moving bins that carry laptops, shoes, and other items through scanners even though airlines already spend millions to help move travelers through TSA’s inefficient process.
Secretary Johnson and TSA officials not only blamed passengers for the delays; they also used the tired, old bureaucratic excuse that a lack of funding or resources is causing problems. However, stubborn facts contradict these claims: TSA’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget of $7.3 billion is one billion dollars and 16 percent higher than in FY 2007. TSA’s full-time workforce rose by 4.3 percent over the last decade, even as air travel at major airports decreased. To date, 22 airports have dropped TSA and switched to more cost-effective, flexible, and efficient private alternatives. The massive lines of outraged passengers have caused airports in Atlanta, New York, and Seattle to announce they are strongly considering privatizing security as well.
The true causes of these delays are the TSA’s bureaucratic ineptitude and its failure to reliably predict demand for TSA PreCheck, which allows passengers to bypass more intense security if they pay an $85 fee and provide a fingerprint and other background information. TSA projected 25 million people would join this program, but to date less than three million have joined.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.
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