When former president George W. Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which established the existence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), America was told flying would become a safer and more secure experience for everyone. But more than a decade later, the TSA has shown itself to be an abusive and ineffective “national embarrassment,” to quote the words of former TSA head Kip Hawley, who says the agency is in desperate need of reform.
First confirmed in July 2005, Hawley served as head of the TSA until January 2009, during which time he witnessed the agency spiral into the shameless, bureaucratic nightmare that it is today. From frivolous “security” measures like banning all liquids and forcing the removal of travelers’ shoes, to full-body pat downs and pointless “witch hunt” protocols for ubiquitous objects like lighters, the TSA’s security theater has evolved into a gross abuse of power, and one that is now the laughing stock of the world.
“More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect,” wrote Hawley in a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial. “In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple.”
You can read his entire piece here:
Hawley goes on to explain how the TSA has repeatedly failed to keep up with staying one step ahead of potential terrorist threats, and has instead adopted an ever-growing list of arbitrary regulations that target specific items and activities as part of a checklist screening regimen. Any terrorist with even the slightest bit of common sense will know what to avoid when planning an attack, in other words, because of the TSA’s narrow and shortsighted approach to security screening.
Reforming TSA would help, but abolishing it would be better
While Hawley offers some great ideas about how to fix these and other problems at the TSA, his solutions are predicated on the false notion that the very existence of the TSA is somehow valid and legitimate. The TSA’s airport checkpoints, which are slowly expanding into ground-based checkpoints, are wholly unconstitutional, and have no place in a free republic.