Now that the folks at TSA are back on track with their Week at a Glance report, here’s what was found during the period between February 17th and 23rd, 2012:
- Firearms: 25 loaded; 10 unloaded [for a breakdown by airport, see the blog]
- 3 artfully concealed prohibited item found at checkpoints
Over at the TSA blog, there are photos of some of the stuff found (including another hapless person trying to sneak pot onto an airplane hidden in a jar of peanut butter).
In recent news, a number of TSA employees at Newark are being retrained or disciplined for lax or improper screening and the TSA has apologized to the woman in Hawai’i after a TSA agent asked her to prove her breast pump was real.
Representative John Mica (R) Florida, who helped create the TSA and is Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is disenchanted.
“We have an army of bureaucrats that’s running this huge system that’s dysfunctional and is protecting its turf,” says Mica, who finally reached his limit when he saw a TSA help-wanted ad printed on a pizza box. Now he wants to cut the size of the $7.8 billion agency dramatically and hand over airport screening to private security companies. He says travelers weary of the indignities of the security line are on his side: “The pressure is building. It makes my job easier.”
Meanwhile here on the other side of the footlights, James Fallows shares two of his readers’ views from airports in other countries. The video of the samba-ing dance party during the recent Carnaval at Santos Dumont, the city airport for Rio de Janeiro, projects a completely different atmosphere than any airport here. Taken this week, the photo of the line for security at China’s Beijing Capital airport, now the second busiest airport in the world, provides quite a contrast with travelers’ experiences here.