Friday :: Oct 17, 2003

What Happened to Improved Airline Security?

by Steve

OK, explain this to me. First, Bush didnít want a Department of Homeland Security at all. Then, after Democrats pushed him into it, he said he strongly supported it but the security needs of the country required that no one with civil service protection work there so that management had the ultimate flexibility to (supposedly) get things done.

Since he demagoged his way past the 2002 midterm elections on that phony issue, he has had things exactly the way he wanted them with regards to homeland security; a handpicked management team, little interference from federal employee unions, and whatever money he has asked for. And what do we have to show for it?

Well, we find out late last night that someone was able to leave box cutters and fake bomb making equipment in the restrooms of two Southwest Airline flights, one originating in Texas, and one from Florida (interesting), in an attempt to demonstrate the gaps in screening.

We find that the Feds admit that security is still weak, after billions of dollars, and that passenger carry-ons and cargo are not screened. Worse yet, the money given to the Transportation Security Administration for bomb-detecting equipment was diverted to salaries. The TSA is plagued by poor morale, and is led by a man who said that unionized workers are incompatible with waging the war against terror. As a result of that lack of representation and management accountability, screeners complain about poor management, inconsistent application of screening requirements, and discrimination and harassment of staff by management. But that is the way Bush wanted it.

Two years after 9/11, many cities still havenít seen the money promised them by the Bush Administration for homeland security and first responders. Nor is the GAO happy with the lack of security at the nationís nuclear plants.

But the Department of Homeland Security had the time to help Tom DeLay chase down the Democrats in the Texas State Senate to vote on a GOP redistricting plan. Itís good to see that the administration has its priorities straight.

If the nation experiences another tragedy similar to 9-11, Bush will have no excuse for his poor security. He can't blame civil servants again, or Congress. If we have $87 billion for Iraq, then money should not be a roadblock for homeland security. It's all on his head.

Steve :: 1:34 PM :: Comments (14) :: Digg It!