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The TSA Meets “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

Written by Gary North on May 11, 2012

Every bureaucacy wastes money. If it can spend money, it will. It doesn’t matter much on what.

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has bought screening machines. It stores them in warehouses. It paid $184 million.

There are two ways of looking at this. One way is to say “let’s get them installed.” The other wa is to say, “Keep them right where they are.”

Is it better to have the equipment installed, thereby reducing our liberty, or stored in warehouses, wasting space.

Do you remember the closing scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark? The one where a crate with the Ark of the Covenant is wheeled around the corner of a huge warehouse?

I say, “Keep the Ark in the warehouse.” Keep it next to the TSA’s screening equipment.

It turns out that the machines didn’t work right.

I would have sent them back for a refund. But that’s not how the TSA works.

The TSA denies everything, of course. But a Congressional committee is looking into it.

Do you think any senior official will get fired at TSA because of this $184 million snafu?

Neither do I.

Eighty-five percent of the equipment has been stored for more than six months, and more than a third for more than a year. One piece has been in storage for six years, more than half its useful life, the report says.

The report estimates that the depreciating value of the equipment during its time in storage cost the agency $23 million.

This is not the first time this has happened.

The fate of the new screening machines is the latest in a long line of TSA procurement failures, said Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican and chairman of the Transportation Committee.

Between 2004 and 2006, he noted, the agency spent more than $30 million buying explosive-trace-detection portals, known as “puffers,” for use at passenger screening checkpoints.

“Where are the puffers?” Mr. Mica asked, adding that only half of them were ever deployed and the agency found they didn’t work.

And so it goes.

So it will always go.

This is how bureaucracies work.

Do we really want them to be efficient? If they were more efficient, how many freedoms would we lose?


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5 thoughts on “The TSA Meets “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

  1. Thunder Funder says:

    SIMPLE – No need to detect/find/remove/interrogate anyone or anything. Just have a walk-in screening machine @ the airport that auto-detonates any explosive on the body. "Poof"… (brief pause)… "Attention passengers, a seat has just become available on Flight #X from Damascus to Tel Aviv."

  2. Dr. Barbara says:

    Fun, I like it. Anyone with exploding underwear would have to go check his shorts.

  3. jim28threg. says:

    And the politicians continue to bluster and posture and want respect. Fire your relatives you bunch of nits!

  4. Get ready for air travel induced cancer though…

  5. ad astra per aspera says:

    That’s how Isreal does it. After talking to each passenger before the flights taking off in Isreal to determine if any are terrorists.