A recent AP article in the April 22, 2004 edition of the Duluth News Tribune discusses a report by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General regarding the performance of airport screeners. When asked to compare the quality of work between privately contracted and federally employed screeners, the IG stated that they both “performed about the same, which is to say, equally poorly.” Imagine that!
Although the specific results of the inspector general’s report were classified, apparetnly the report showed that passenger screening is no better than it was 17 years ago: Screeners didn’t detect 20 percent of the dangerous objects that undercover agents carried through checkpoints. The report also portrayed the TSA as an “unresponsive inflexible bureaucracy”. Big surprise.
This report confirms my belief that all of the “enhanced” security checkpoints and procedures are simply window dressing. Despite the added hassle and inconvenience the public has been told to tolerate in the name of aviation security, flying with the scheduled airlines is really not much, if any, safer than it was before. Unfortunately, it appears that passenger profiling and the El Al method of passenger screening are probably what it takes to truly enhance aviation security. But I leave that discussion for another day.