A couple of years ago, the DHS's Inspector General set out to see if the TSA could actually do the one thing it was supposed to do: prevent weapons and explosives from being brought onboard. This was the result:
According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests [95%], with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints. In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down. Officials would not divulge the exact time period of the testing other than to say it concluded recently.
95 out 100 terrorists agree: the TSA is doing a bang-up job making travel safer. Now, the DHS is insisting foreign airports start buckling down on security or start subjecting fliers to a variety of inconvenient bans. However, it hasn't had much to say about the insecurity of domestic airports, where things have progressed less-than-incrementally since the last Red Team audit.
When put to the test, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport failed 95 percent of security tests conducted at the airport last week, according to Fox 9 sources. [Fox has a rounding error: 17 of 18 is 94.4%]
Last Thursday, what’s referred to as the “Red Team” in town from Washington D.C., posed as passengers and attempted to sneak items through security that should easily be caught.
In most cases, they succeeded in getting the banned items though. 17 out of 18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected.
That percentage could conceivably have been worse. According to Fox 9, the Red Team stopped the audit once it hit the 95% threshold. Even the most sociopathic of us finds it uncomfortable to watch supposedly-trained people fail over and over at the one task they've been assigned.
Fox also points out the MSP team has failed before, albeit somewhat less spectacularly. Last year, TSA screeners missed 9 of 12 weapons/explosives. Since that previous low water mark, security has only gotten worse.
The TSA's response? To borrow a gun from someone who got past the screeners in order to shoot the messenger.
When asked about Thursday’s failing grade, the TSA said, “TSA cannot confirm or deny the results of internal tests and condemns the release of any information that could compromise our nation’s security."
Hey, TSA: it's not the release of information that's compromising national security. It's your employees. If they did their job competently, there'd be nothing to report.