FAQ : Does the TSA Really Make Your Travels Safer?
There’s a reason for this, we tell ourselves. There’s a reason we have to take off our shoes, submit ourselves to the random body scans, put our shoes back on, and begin the process over again the next time we have to take a flight.
The problem is, if the TSA isn’t really making our summer travels safer, maybe there isn’t a reason for all the hassle. That’s why the true effectiveness of the TSA is the real million dollar question and worth investigating.
Might people be better off – and even safer – if the TSA didn’t intrude on our airport experience the way it does now? Let’s tackle this question by examining both sides of the issue.
Many people make the mistake of associating the Transportation Security Administration with all of airport security, thus assuming that the TSA itself has been around for a long, long time. The truth is that the TSA is a recently new phenomenon in government; it was formed in 2001 as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has been active under the Department of Homeland Security ever since.
In that time, it should be noted, there have been no major air security disasters in the United States – but there were a few close calls. Many people who support the TSA are quick to point out its record on security over the past decade.
However, others aren’t so sure. Aside from the devastating 9/11 attacks, there were not a lot of major airport incidents before the TSA was created, either. And with more and more people feeling like the TSA’s harsh screening process makes them out to be suspects and violates their civil liberties, criticism of the agency focuses on the fact that the TSA is creating more trouble for passengers than the enhanced security is worth.
Problems at the TSA
Even supporters of the TSA would be willing to admit to a few problems. For example, in 2009, a TSA employee was found guilty of stealing laptops at the Philadelphia airport. Other such similar abuses have been reported, and in recent times even Kentucky Senator Rand Paul refused certain TSA searches in an effort to raise awareness about how the administration screens some people.
Other people are distraught at how “little old ladies with titanium hips” will have to submit to manual scanning even though it’s clear they represent no kind of threat to the airplane’s security.
Is it Really Making Us Safer?
Saying definitive whether or not the TSA is making our summer vacation plans safer is more a matter of opinion than it is scientific evidence, so you’ll have to make your own conclusions on this issue. However, it is worth knowing exactly what the TSA does, when it was started, and keeping in mind that Americans do have certain rights that should not be violated by anyone – including TSA agents. Ultimately, it’s best not to scale back those summer plans because of the TSA, but to be aware of the TSA’s requirements as you pack for your trips this summer.