Recently, a Muslim by the name of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried setting off a bomb on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Well, since this went down on Christmas, there’s been all sorts of blowback on different intelligence and security agencies in the federal government. It’s been said that screening wasn’t good enough, amongst other things. In fact, the CEO of Delta Airlines (who now owns Northwest – the actual operator of the flight), Richard Anderson, said the government needs to step things up.
Make sure you read that link, because in it you’ll see that a corporate security consultant had this to say:
“Partially, he’s right,” Stewart said about Anderson. “The government dropped the ball big time” in not canceling Abdulmutallab’s visa after his father reported him to U.S. consulate officials in Nigeria, Stewart said.
But, he added, “It’s not just the government’s fault. The airlines are also responsible for security.”
In reality, yes, the airlines should be responsible for security (and I’ll get to that in a minute), but can you blame them for not doing more when the government has already thrown its greasy paws in the game? Really, what more can the airlines do given the current situation?
This is a prime example to go along with what I wrote about previously where I mentioned that government regulation is a self-fulfilling prophecy of harm. People, mostly through ignorance, think that if the government is involved, all will be good and safe. Sorry kids, that’s not how it works.
If the government had their hands off the issue of airline security, and individual airlines were responsible, I guarantee things would be safer.
“How the hell are things going to be safer?!? Government can’t get it right, so how will the private sector?” is what all the statists will clamor. After all, government knows best. Right…
It’s pretty simple – market forces will make airlines do a better job. People will refuse to go to an airline if they are known to have horrid security. When the TSA or government in general botches things up because they have no clue what the hell they’re doing, it just makes the industry as a whole look bad because, as I mentioned, people as a whole seem to have this idea that if the government can’t do it right, no one can.
Other reasons TSA and the DHS should be done away with
I figure since I’m talking about the issue of keeping security in the hands of airlines, I might as well throw a few jabs in at the TSA and DHS.
For starters, I have first hand experience working with TSA. I’ve tossed bags and worked the counter for Air Wisconsin Airlines up in Traverse City for a couple of summers. Many of the people that work for TSA are decent, but there are some total blow hard douchebags. Problem is, it’s these d-bags that can make both traveling and working at the airport a pain in the ass. I’d tell you a story about how one of these guys told the on-duty operations guy (the guy responsible for the airport at the time) that he couldn’t go into an area for a certain reason, but I really don’t feel like dealing with some bullshit subpoena from TSA. Here are some of the stupid things TSA has done in light of the bombing attempt on Christmas.
Here’s another gem that TSA has imposed: Employees still have to go through screening if they want to get on a flight, nor can they just bypass the checkpoint if they are just working. Basically at TVC, all the employees have SIDA badges which indicates that they’re authorized unescorted access to the secure area. The badge also serves as a “key” so that we can get through the doors to the secure areas. Obviously, we have to go through a background check (apparently TSA and/or corporate security wasn’t smart enough to realize the last time around that I had a Secret security clearance) to get the access and work there. Despite the fact that they trust us with access to the aircraft during our regular work, they don’t trust us if we’re traveling?
Then there is a reason for travelers themselves that TSA should be eliminated, at least at airports where they shut the checkpoint down: At TVC, TSA shuts down the checkpoint around 2100 or so if I recall. This is after the last scheduled departure. Well, if the weather sucks on the downline segment, the flight may be delayed due to flow control. In other cases, we’ve had a diversion or two, where aircraft going from say, Canada to Chicago needed to stop in TVC due to Wx concerns. Either way, people getting off the plane (if it will be a considerable delay with no cancelation) can’t go outside of the secure area because the checkpoint is closed down. If airlines handled security themselves, they may train agents to conduct checks themselves and operate the equipment so that in these situations, people can leave the area and get back in.