Do we have a problem here?

Book with knives, 12/19/11 (TSA photograph)

The Transportation Security Administration, commonly referred to as the TSA, has a budget of $8.1 billion for 2012 and plans to add about 3,000 more employees. According to the Mission statement on its own website, TSA “protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.” (The stated Vision and Core Values on the same page are enlightening; I wonder if anyone who works for the TSA has read them?)

What have they done for us lately to justify the cost? Well, it turns out that the TSA home page has a “Week at a Glance” feature and here’s what they say they did between December 19th and 25th:

  • 7 artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints
  • 31 firearms found at checkpoints
  • 2 passengers were arrested after investigation of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents

Here’s the story on the ninja knives pictured above which were confiscated at the Reagan National Airport. The passenger surrendered the knives and was not fined or charged.

James Fallows has a post on the TSA here. Don’t miss the story of  the courageous TSA supervisor who confiscated a cupcake with a dangerous “gel-like frosting” at the airport in Las Vegas last week. Why didn’t that get a mention in the “Week at a Glance” report?