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US House 'Creator' of TSA Wants To Kill It 681

Posted by OverTheGeicoE
from the seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time dept.
U.S. Representative John Mica (R-Florida), the sponsor of the original House bill that helped create the TSA, has become an outspoken opponent of the agency. In a recent interview, "Mica said screeners should be privatized and the agency dismantled." Mica seems to agree with other TSA critics that the agency 'failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years.' Mica is the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman and receives classified briefings on TSA. Perhaps we should trust him more than most people on this topic.
In an older ABC news article (ignore the unrelated video) Mica describes how he deals with security checkpoints. "He won't go through a full body scanner at an airport because 'I don't want them circulating pictures of my beautiful body' all over. He said he opts for a pat-down, and just 'closes his eyes and imagines a beautiful female.'"
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US House 'Creator' of TSA Wants To Kill It

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    • Re:Got my vote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Squiddie (1942230) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:48PM (#37413200)
      Yes, because getting your groped by a private security agency employee is much better than being groped by a government agency employee. It's like being glad that your shit sandwich now has a different kind of bread.
      • by Thud457 (234763) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:58PM (#37413348) Homepage Journal
        Hire only attractive female screeners, two drink minimum.
        Turn this around into a profit center. As a bonus, flyers are less stressed. winning all around.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bonch (38532)

        If a private company gropes you, public opinion forces them to change or they go out of business from driving away airport travelers. If the government gropes you, they tell you "tough shit," which is what the TSA has been saying for the last 12 months.

        It intrigues me that so many people still don't understand the huge disadvantages that come with government control, especially when they bitch so much about corporate monopolies. Governments don't have to compete for you as a customer because you're forced t

        • Re:Got my vote (Score:5, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:06PM (#37413446)

          If there is only one provider of the service, it does not matter if it is government or a private company. If you must use them or not fly it will always be "tough shit".

          • by ThinkWeak (958195)
            Privatization of the TSA does not mean one company covering the United Stated. It could bring about some competition.
            • Re:Got my vote (Score:5, Insightful)

              by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:27PM (#37413676)
              Only in the small number of markets where multiple large airports service a single population. Anywhere else, a local monopoly is identical to a government monopoly. Claiming there'd be competition is like claiming that you have competition in the electrical distribution market; sure you can switch providers, you just need to sell your house and move somewhere else.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by don_weber (566774)
                Kind of like our choices for internet connectivity.
              • by yodleboy (982200)
                that's funny because here in Texas we actually do have a choice of electricity providers. Now, Oncor supports and services most of the infrastructure, but your rates can vary drastically from provider to provider. I actually have 40 providers that service my zip code. http://powertochoose.com./ [powertochoose.com.] Of course we also pay higher electricity prices than most of the states on our borders, but hey! we have a choice...
          • by Dan667 (564390)
            if it is privatized it will cost 10x more than if the government does it and the private company will abuse anything they can to make additional money like private prisons have pushed for laws that make it easier to lock people up.
        • Re:Got my vote (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Squiddie (1942230) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:08PM (#37413468)
          What makes you think that the airport cares whether you feel comfortable or not? The private firm, too, can tell you to go fuck yourself. They don't work for you, they work for whoever hired them. Private screening might still have "guidelines" that they will be required to follow, and I don't expect them to be too different from what we have with the TSA.
          • Re:Got my vote (Score:5, Insightful)

            by spazdor (902907) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:15PM (#37413540)

            The private firm, too, can tell you to go fuck yourself.

            B-b-but then you can go to the snazzy new competing airport across the street which was built with zero startup capital (and does not actually exist), and they'll give you a backrub and a blowjob and then pay YOU to fly with them and then the "go fuck yourself" airline will go out of business for lack of customers, because competition always leads to the best deal for the consumer!

        • Re:Got my vote (Score:5, Insightful)

          by spazdor (902907) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:09PM (#37413480)

          This argument would be more convincing if market competition in America actually worked the way free-market fundamentalists swear it works.

          BTW, there's also a theory about how when the government gropes you, this is supposed to hurt their poll numbers and therefore their job security. You might even call it the central idea of representative democracy. Unfortunately that mechanism is just as broken as the "competition" one.

        • Re:Got my vote (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:29PM (#37413708) Journal
          Unfortunately, "Privatization" is typically used as a polite euphemism for getting the worst of both worlds. It is very rarely a synonym for "the state abandoning function X"; but rather for "The state hiring a contractor for function X" or (in the case of assets, rather than functions) "The state sweetheathearting off asset X"...

          When somebody says "Privatize", you can usually expect that they are demanding that the public employees be fired; but that the function continue to be paid for by taxpayer money, and backed by whatever force of law it previously enjoyed, just now being wielded by the employees of whatever contractor scooped up the bid. At best, this is an improvement of degree(ie. if the prior employees were genuinely a mess and the new contractor is actually efficient at something other than landing contracts); but it is not an improvement of kind: it is still state agents, paid with public money, backed by force of law. The fact that they aren't those evil public-sector workers with their wicked unions and whatnot doesn't change that a bit.

          Unless proven innocent by demonstrated presence of a spine and some affinity for actual freedom, anybody who wants to "privatize the TSA" should be treated in roughly the same way as those who have shepherded along the privatization of parts of the prison industry... Shockingly enough, when your "product" is incarceration, you turn all your vaunted-efficiency-of-the-private-sector toward moving more product... Should the TSA be sacked and replaced by SecuriDyne LLC, it is extremely unlikely that SecuriDyne will be any better an advocate for less, and less invasive, screening than the TSA is, why would they cut into their own market?
        • "By entering this metal detector, you have agreed to the EULA of this airport's security measures, including the clause that all disputes with this security checkpoint will be resolved through binding arbitration..."
      • Actually, litigation would be easier, especially if the Groper were photo graphed during the event. I can imagine him running his hands up and down me now; ka-ching. I think all freedom groping should be put on Youtube, and criminal acts are still criminal acts, no matter who sanctifies them.
      • by md65536 (670240)

        glad that your shit sandwich now has a different kind of bread.

        That's hardly fair. GP's shit sandwich has a whole new flavour of shit!

  • Killing it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:45PM (#37413154)

    ...to replace it with privatized equivalents.

    Not really better is it?

    • Re:Killing it... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sir_Sri (199544) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:51PM (#37413256)

      Not really no. The point of the TSA - a government agency that assumes accountability for security of air travel is good. The implementation as a long parade of security theatre which reacts as though past specific plans are guides to future threats is disastrously wasteful and ineffective, not to mention a drain on the economy when no one wants to travel for fear of being repeatedly groped, poked, and prodded by people in blue gloves who hate their jobs,

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        It's bad enough when the government wants to grop you, but for-profit corporations?

        I won't visit the US until you guys sort this stuff out. Japan is bad enough with photgraphs and fingerprints taken when you enter.

  • Privatization? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by halestock (1750226) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:46PM (#37413164)
    Just what we want, to pay more for less security.
    • Re:Privatization? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:48PM (#37413194)

      Just what we want, to pay more for less security.

      Would be hard to pay more or get less than we currently do.

    • Re:Privatization? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ryants (310088) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:51PM (#37413242)
      Privatized airport security works just fine in Canada.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Privatized airport security works just fine in Canada.

        Yeah but who wants to attack Canadiens eh?

        • by digitig (1056110)
          Plenty of people might want to attack flights from Canada to the USA, Europe, Israel, etc.
      • Prior to 9/11 airport security was private. Now yes, people did hijack the planes but then two things to remember:

        1) Box cutters weren't something security was looking for.

        2) The TSA has done no better, they miss shit all the time. Their record is awful.

        Also a big benefit of private security is accountability. The TSA has done a wonderful job of creating a system where nobody is accountable and any complaint just gets stopped up in bureaucracy, and gets you placed on the no-fly list. Well in the case of pri

    • by bonch (38532)

      What are you talking about? Privatization generally leads to more for less. Airport security has already been privatized in other countries; the U.S. would just be catching up in that regard.

      • Re:Privatization? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:21PM (#37413600)

        What are you talking about? Privatization generally leads to more for less. Airport security has already been privatized in other countries; the U.S. would just be catching up in that regard.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/us/13contractor.html?_r=4 [nytimes.com]

        There was another story a few weeks ago, about a state that took back a previously privatized prison that wasn't being maintained properly (i.e., the company was just cream-skimming), and much to their surprise they saved about a million dollars in the first year they had it back.

        Also, notice that if you privatized the TSA you still have all the same expenses, *plus* the expectation of a profit on top of all that. They only way you get more for less by privatizing is by cutting corners - and you've got to cut enough to satisfy the profit motive just to break even.

        Privatization isn't about smaller government, or even getting more for less. It's about putting public money in private pockets. Why do you think Republican politicians always favor it?

        • Re:Privatization? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Fjandr (66656) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:37PM (#37413830) Homepage Journal

          If the logic is extended, it appears you are an advocate of government running absolutely everything.

          The reality is that there are evil people both in private enterprise and in government service, who are out to line their pockets as much as possible with no regard to the consequences as they apply to others. So, you can find arguments on both sides why they are evil and inefficient. Using such examples, unless the examples are comprehensive enough to be considered endemic, does little to advance an argument for either side.

      • by Marillion (33728)

        I worked for a subsidiary of one of the US major carriers including the period from before 9/11 to after the TSA was created. Going through security five times a week, you notice things. At my airport terminal, the carrier hired Wackenhut (now part of G4S Secure Solutions) to staff the checkpoints. What concerned me most about that arrangement was that it was the carrier could exert pressure upon the security vendor to meet passenger per hour quotas that might pressure the security vendor to cut corners. I

    • by schwit1 (797399)

      Absolutely. The current situation is nothing more than a false sense of security, which is worse than no security.
      Privatizing Air Security [mises.org]

    • by Duradin (1261418)

      Blackwater/Xe agrees.

  • USA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:46PM (#37413180)

    USA is on MY no-fly list.

  • Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aryden (1872756) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:46PM (#37413182)
    replace them with private entities with LESS oversight.... yeah.... I'll be damned if i go through a colonoscopy to board a plane.
    • To be fair the idea is that the private screeners will have a vested interest in getting passengers through quickly (since they'll be paid for by airlines/airports) and will have no financial interest in tighter security (which is good, since nothing implemented post-9/11 has helped, so it's plenty tight enough.)

      • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:58PM (#37413340)

        To be fair the idea is that the private screeners will have a vested interest in getting passengers through quickly (since they'll be paid for by airlines/airports) and will have no financial interest in tighter security (which is good, since nothing implemented post-9/11 has helped, so it's plenty tight enough.)

        To be even fairer, screening used to be entirely private and it was just as effective and less intrusive without costing anything remotely close to $8 billion a year.

    • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ryants (310088) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:58PM (#37413344)
      Canada has had privatized airport security since... the mid 1990s if memory serves. As you know, the result has been weekly bombings and anal cavity searches. Oh, wait, no, it's the complete opposite. Quick, efficient and effective scanning.
    • Replace them with private entities, but if the TSA will be dismantled, scanners won't be used in airports since it has been proven ineffective. Nobody's been held liable for the cancer-causing scanners with current oversight anyway so what more could you be afraid of? At least if they're privatized, those companies will be held liable and could collapse if they make errors. Right now it's like there's no consequence...
  • Too big (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scutter (18425) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:47PM (#37413184) Journal

    The TSA is a bureaucratic monster that has grown to big to dismantle (or indeed, even control anymore). It's already starting to branch out into areas that are far beyond its mandate, all in the name of "security", of course. We'll always have that little bogeyman.

  • These government officials always must be the first to get anything that they prescribe as treatment to other people done to themselves first.

    You want to pass a TSA type act? For a year you should be the only one, to who these treatments are applied. You should be forced to these treatments on daily basis, and if after a year you think it's still a good idea, then maybe... you should still forget about it and think how to increase individual liberties instead of destroying them, and how to uphold and protec

  • It would be a good start for the kinds of cuts necessary for the bloated federal budget. Next do the BATFE, DEA, IRS and DOD.

  • Umm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps we should first ask, does Mica own stock or part of any private security firms?

    • That was my first thought. Even if he doesn't own stock/part of a firm, he may well be getting paid to promote them in some other manner.
  • by compucomp2 (1776668) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:50PM (#37413238)
    This guy is spouting Republican talking points, saying the program is "creating too much bureaucracy" and "being wasteful government spending". Notice he doesn't actually care about the loss of privacy and rights. If he could contract a private company to strip search everyone and save money on the budget, he'd probably do it. Heck he might even be able to spin it off as "helping the job creators." Just because someone agrees with you an issue doesn't mean he agrees with you for the same reasons nor that you'd like the solutions he'd propose.
    • by Grizzley9 (1407005) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:14PM (#37413518)

      This guy is spouting Republican talking points, saying the program is "creating too much bureaucracy" and "being wasteful government spending". Notice he doesn't actually care about the loss of privacy and rights. If he could contract a private company to strip search everyone and save money on the budget, he'd probably do it. Heck he might even be able to spin it off as "helping the job creators." Just because someone agrees with you an issue doesn't mean he agrees with you for the same reasons nor that you'd like the solutions he'd propose.

      Frankly, who cares what the instigator thinks as long as the action is accomplished? Security was private before the TSA took over. The rest of the world uses private security. It's in their best interest as a private company to cut the costs and speed people through security checkpoints just doing the basic security check. It's all theatre anyway, just pay less for it. We all would win if we got rid of the TSA.

      • by SydShamino (547793) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:39PM (#37413866)

        Because if he doesn't care about the privacy aspects, supporting his change could make things worse than they are now. The law could exempt the private companies from lawsuits, and there wouldn't even be a FOIA or a Congressional committee to uncover the uncalibrated machines spewing radiation, or the repeat molesters allowed to "retire" without prosecution.

        If it remains illegal to walk away from your flight when you decide to not be groped or irradiated, then the organization running security is still the de-facto government no matter who pays their bills. In that case, I'd prefer it to be the government because they have better (if bloated and still not all that great) oversight.

      • by Trepidity (597)

        If contracted out properly, yes. Somehow I expect the U.S. would totally fuck up the privatization, though, and end up with a cost-plus contract that would actually give the privatized T.S.A. more incentive to institute bullshit and expensive security measures, so they could bill back more cost-plus fees to the contract.

    • by iteyoidar (972700)
      I think this is partially over the unionization fight that was going on earlier this year. It's about fighting republican demons, not cutting costs or improving security.
  • Really? Hey maybe he is right but over all I find the application of logic in the editorialization of Slashdot submissions to be lacking at best.
    "Mica is the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman and receives classified briefings on TSA. Perhaps we should trust him more than most people on this topic."
    And if he as all for keeping the TSA would you also say you should trust him more because of his insider info? I doubt it, I am sure that we would hear screams of "who is paying him off" o

  • Or perhaps... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai.gmail@com> on Thursday September 15, 2011 @02:55PM (#37413302) Homepage
    ...he's doing himself a favor with the Tea Party by going after an unpopular agency (not to mention Federal workers).
  • ...Big clarification: Rep. Mica wants to *privatize* the TSA, more than he want to destroy it.

    There's evidence that government services provided by private contractors can cost twice as much as the same services, provided by full-time federal employees --- all while doing everything even less efficiently than before. (...Just like it is with private prisons, private war contractors, private health insurance, and many other scams.)

    This whole scheme seems like just another RepubliScam(TM), mean

  • I actually support a republican "privatization will fix it" argument for the first time in history. I suppose the TSA is just so bad that it eclipses all the other governmental bullshit.

    I just really have a hard time imagining that private firms would be worse; they're already rent-a-cops, but as it is they're government rent-a-cops. Any oversight at all, even if it is just the fictitious "free market" oversight, is an improvement over an organization that actively works against any sort of oversight.
  • It's kind of ignorant to use Poland as an example of expensive security administrations. Security at Polish airports is handled by the same mix of military, police, and private security as in most European airports and stations. It's nothing like the TSA.

    When a politician takes a position, any position, the main key to understanding why is "follow the money". In this case, I'd assume, even without research, that the TSA budget represents a huge and lucrative pot of money and certain people think they can gr

  • Trust him?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brxndxn (461473) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:08PM (#37413478)

    Instead of trusting the guy that originally worked to create the monstrocity, how about we trust the guy that fought against it originally? We had one outspoken guy in government saying we do not need to give up freedoms for temporary safety the day after 9/11..
    Rep John Mica says 'I helped create it. It sucks. We should privatize it.'
    Rep Ron Paul says 'I voted against it. It sucks. We should get rid of it.'

    I believe the new cockpit doors did more to combat terrorism than all of the air marshalls and TSA screeners combined.. and the doors did not do much.

  • by CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:14PM (#37413526) Journal
    OCP?
  • Isn't it interesting that the very people who were spending money like drunken sailors are suddenly in favor of "smaller government" and financial conservatism? And yet almost no one is calling them on it. An entire political party apparently had an epiphany and started claiming that Obama was outspending every President in history (while Bush Jr. - all by himself - increased the national debt by over $5 trillion according to the NY Times).

    I keep wondering how firing a million government employees is going to help create jobs.

    • by McKing (1017)

      Yeah, I've thought the same thing for a long while. From 1995 to 2007 we had an Republican majority in both houses of Congress, a largely Republican SCOTUS, and for 6 of those years a Republican President. They set us up for failure with deregulation of the banking and housing industries and they went to war with no plan at all to pay for it (Every other war in US history was paid for by raising taxes and every war was followed by a recession).

      Why would people trust them to get us out of this mess? Why

      • by McKing (1017)

        Oh, I forget to mention, there are only 2 ways for a government to "create" jobs:

        1. Spend money and expand existing programs.

        2. Spend money and create new government programs.

        They can also encourage the private sector to create new jobs by using incentives, but those aren't guaranteed to work. We saw how a lot of those programs have worked over the years.

        Gov: hey, you get a break on your taxes if you promise to hire people.

        CEO: Thanks, we'll sure try to! We really really promise to try!

        Gov: Pinky swear??

        C

  • "privitize" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekrat (242117) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:34PM (#37413772) Homepage Journal

    This is political hackery that boils down to the following:

    #1) The job will be bid on via a no-bid contract to some firm that some senator is either friends with the owner or a part-owner thereof.

    #2) All the current TSA employees will be fired.

    #3) All the former TSA employees will be rehired by the private firm (such as Blackwater), at LOWER pay.

    #4) Despite hiring everyone at lower pay, the contractor will bill the government double or more what it was costing the government to run the TSA by itself.

    #5) Owner and Senator become super-rich, and lobby hard to have their personal income taxes cut because they are Job-creators.

    #6) Deficit explodes due to cost-over-runs and how much money is being pocketed by owner/senator. Meanwhile Congress votes to cut taxes on the rich to "reduce" the deficit.

    Is there any part of this I haven't covered? It's pretty obvious, and they've done it to us a million times and we let them do it more. The Rich get richer and the middle class becomes poor.

    Thanks government for fucking me in the ass again.

    • You know what the solution is: vote 3rd party in 2012 and tell all your friends to do the same. Obama's been a joke. The Democrats in general are quite willing to let the country slowly slide into ruin and the Republicans seem bound and determined to rush there as fast as possible.

      Neither major party is willing to implement the kind of policies we need to solve the problems with our economy, curb climate change or stop fucking around with our civil liberties and as the tea party showed attempts at grassroot

  • by wfstanle (1188751) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:43PM (#37413920)

    "Mica seems to agree with other TSA critics that the agency 'failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years."

    Not that I am a big fan of the TSA but one thing should be pointed out. Failure to detect a threat does not mean if was unsuccessful at finding a threat. There might not have been any credible threats to find. There is a problem in failing many tests of security and he should have pointed at that instead.

  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @03:46PM (#37413950)
    I'm really trying to remember the last time I thought a rent-a-cop was doing a better job than the local city police or deputy sheriff. Nope, hasn't happened yet. Do you folks not remember how screwed up this was before TSA was set up? It was horrid, which is why all these people supported setting up TSA in the first place.

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