Homeland Stupidity

The TSA Follies

The Transportation Security Administration is making changes to its procedures, retraining its employees, and hiring terrorist sympathizers.

The first big change is that the TSA will remove about half the names on its no-fly list, after coming under criticism for maintaining a completely useless list that does nothing to enhance security while catching innocent Americans in its net.

“To assure the accuracy of the no-fly list itself, we will shortly conclude a case-by-case review of every name on the no-fly list,” TSA administrator Kip Hawley told a Senate committee this week. “Working with our partners at the Terrorist Screening Center and in the intelligence community and law enforcement, this effort will effectively cut the no-fly list in half.”

TSA might be adding a name to the no-fly list, though: Semaj Booker. Last weekend Booker led police on a high-speed car chase through Lakewood, Wash., and on Monday managed to outwit airline and TSA personnel and sneak onto a Southwest Airlines flight to San Antonio, Texas. Booker is nine years old.

“We have spent millions of dollars and inconvenienced the American public mightily trying to make air travel safe,” Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) told the Washington Post. “If a 9-year-old can exploit this security system, we are going to have to look into the procedures.”

Finally, TSA screeners went through special cultural sensitivity training recently to prepare them for the special needs of Muslim Hajj pilgrims, who travel to Mecca this time of year. There are two problems with that, says Annie Jacobsen, author of Terror in the Skies: Why 9-11 Could Happen Again.

First, there’s the cost of training 45,000 screeners for the needs of only 20,000 travelers. Then, she says, is that the training was conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group which critics say has ties to Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas.

“The fact that they have hired an organization that does have ties to a terrorist organization, at least in its inception, is really grave cause for concern,” Jacobsen told One News Now.