11 Years Later, We May Have Lost Our Freedoms, But At Least TSA is Keeping Us Safe…Oops—FAIL!

Screening Out Gnats

There’s almost nothing to add to the story below covered by Judicial Watch, the Canada Free Press, U.S. News and World Report, and others.

Eleven years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Americans are subjected daily to humiliation, not to mention extreme inconvenience, by the “security” measures instituted by the grand new agency created to ensure such horrors would occur “never again”: the Department of Homeland Security and its favorite youngest child, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA). We have been assured that these measures are keeping us safe, and apparently a majority of the American public buys it.

Yet, 11 years later, one of the main excuses for the need to create yet another agency—namely, one that would be devoted solely to “securing” our “transportation”—remains as high a risk as before its creation: illegal aliens continue to seek and be given flying lessons.

The main difference since 9/11: now they’re getting licensed, too.

The flight school currently in question rather beats the cake in that it’s also run by an illegal alien.

And, no, the national security state did not uncover this. A traffic cop did:

The revelation of the illegalities occurring at the FAA-licensed flight school occurred when local police officers—not members of the multi-billion dollar budgeted Homeland Security Department—captured the owner of the school during a traffic stop and were able to determine that he was an illegal alien.

Read the story in full, and weep—especially next time you read about the latest humiliation and abuse of the flying public by TSA, or you yourself are subjected to dangerous levels of radiation in the “naked scanner”, or “opt” instead to get groped as the cost of travel in America:

As the 11th anniversary of the [9/11] attacks approaches, the TSA’s Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP) still fails to screen foreign nationals who enroll in U.S. flight schools, according to a report published this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress. In fact, the agency isn’t even keeping its database of background checks up to date and investigators found that records were missing for 25,000 foreign nationals who trained as pilots here.

It gets better. The TSA’s special program doesn’t even bother to determine if the candidates are in the country illegally. This has been reported before. In fact, well over a year ago a flight school in Stow Massachusetts, a rural community about 25 miles west of Boston, made headlines because it was operated by an illegal immigrant who somehow got a U.S. pilot’s license and more than 30 illegal aliens, cleared by the TSA, were enrolled and training to fly planes. [emphasis added]

Pilots are actually licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but the agency relies on the TSA for criminal and immigration background checks. The TSA is also responsible for clearing airport workers who enter secure areas. In previous years the agency actually approved background checks for illegal immigrants to work in sensitive areas of busy airports in various parts of the country.

Considering this, the GAO puts it way too diplomatically by saying “weaknesses exist in the vetting process” for “identifying flight students who may be in the country illegally.” Investigators recommend that the TSA “identify how often and why foreign nationals are not vetted under AFSP and develop a plan for assessing the results of efforts to identify AFSP-approved foreign flight students who entered the country illegally.”

In other words, the government recommends that the government do a better job. Hopefully it will comply before its failures result in another disaster it was supposed to actually protect us from.

Another government agency goes further, and admits this expansion of powers has done nothing to increase security, and everything to grow government (TSA now employs 65,000):

Last fall a scathing report issued by a House Transportation Committee called for an overhaul of the TSA, saying that the inept and bloated agency has failed miserably to fulfill its mission. The TSA has “grown into an enormous, inflexible and distracted bureaucracy” that has lost its focus on transportation security, according to the committee’s report. It further states that the TSA “lacks administrative competency” and “suffers from bureaucratic morass and mismanagement.”

In another zinger earlier this year, the former head of the TSA called the agency a national embarrassment that’s hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people it is meant to protect. In a newspaper article promoting his new book about the agency’s inner workings, former TSA head Kip Hawley assures that “airport security in America is broken” yet it has transformed air travel into an “unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas.”

If foreign terrorists successfully attacking the Pentagon—despite numerous tips that a plot was in the works—didn’t teach us that a “Department of Defense” that can’t defend itself has demonstrated incompetence, does this update convince us?

How much longer are we going to continue to drink the Kool-aid that “government is here to help us”?

It isn’t. It won’t. It can’t.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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