Your Congress at work: Lawmaker calls TSA a 'failure... totally out of control'
February 17th, 2011
01:54 PM ET
12 years ago

Your Congress at work: Lawmaker calls TSA a 'failure... totally out of control'

Washington (CNN) - Here's something to think about the next time you're waiting in the airport security line: According the Republican Congressman John Mica of Florida, the people who are supposed to keep air travelers safe – aren't.

Mica ought to know: He's now the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. On the House floor this morning he begged members of Congress to get classified briefings on the Transportation Security Administration, the TSA.

"The failure of TSA puts this nation at risk," said Mica. He cited GAO reports on what he called the "total failure" of its behavior-recognition program, which was supposed to help security personnel spot suspicious behaviors among travelers.

"Get the classified briefing on the failure of the advanced technology," Mica continued. "They went out and bought a half a billion dollars worth of equipment, spent another half a billion to install it and the failure is dramatic. You can read that as members of Congress."

As for the TSA's controversial pat-downs of travelers, Mica says that program's a failure, too. "Everybody's getting pat downs. You think that's helpful? I implore members to get a classified briefing and see, again, the results of that failure."

Since you probably don't have the security clearances necessary to read the classified reports Mica talked about, let's consider the TSA bureaucracy.

Mica says it has "mushroomed" since it was founded after 9/11: "TSA has more employees than the Department of State, the Department of Education, and Labor, and Housing and Urban Development combined!"

He continued, "If you think the bureaucracy in Washington is bad, there are 9,233 non-screener employees at the airports across the country. There are only 400 airports in the program. That's 20 bureaucrats per airport, on average."

Mica's bottom line: "This agency is totally out of control." He intended to ask the House to approve cuts to TSA's budget but withdrew his request this morning, admitting his cuts "were not as surgical as they probably need to be."

But he promised to work with other members of Congress to "improve" TSA's mission.

Filed under: Congress • TSA
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    The solution is simple: shut down the TSA.

    February 17, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    More GOP non sense. We are safer than we were when The Great Bush was President you moron!

    February 17, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Why is it that elected republicans from Florida just cannot keep their mouth shut? They always come up with something that is inane, and it makes all Floridians look stupid for electing them. So far, we have not had any successful terrorist bombings on our planes, and most of us feel safe when we fly.

    February 17, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Gov. Hosni Mubarak Walker from Wisconsin

    20 TSA screeners at O'Hare Airport? I guess that would mean that they would work 24/7 and flights from Chicago would be reduced to a few a day.

    February 17, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. Mk Ultra

    And when the TSA is abolished and the next terrorist attack happens I don't want to hear anyone whining about how "we didn't do enough to prevent it"....

    February 17, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Does he offer any suggestions to the TSA to make things work better? Or is it opinion that any government screening is bad?

    February 17, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    ["The failure of TSA puts this nation at risk,"] .... SO BE IT because you guys are going to cut more jobs and the TSA is not excluded – that’s a government job!!! Oh, never mind, just another organization the RepubliCAN’Ts want to “privatize!!!”

    February 17, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Video Guy

    Isn't the TSA a Bush Chaney creation. Yet another example of GOP/Tea Party failures.

    February 17, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Amazing

    I guess he will pin this problem on the President as well!

    February 17, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. rs

    Man, Republicans LOVE to peddle fear.

    February 17, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Gov. Hosni Mubarak Walker from Wisconsin

    And today's threat level at the airport, "Run Screaming and Hide." Thanks republicans.

    February 17, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. JMR49

    Alright GOP quit trying to blame GW Bush for everything, just cause he created TSA and the bloated DHS doesn't mean...wait. You do realize GW created this right? Not part of TARP you know. Not even unionized or anything...

    February 17, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Kinda like Congress?????

    February 17, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. B

    Listen to what the FAA has to say about needed changes to ATC infrastructure, that is really concerning.

    February 17, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Realistic

    The republicans are attacking the TSA now because...wait...wait....They join a union and republicans can not let that happen. So what do you do as a republican, attack the TSA and americans who work at the TSA. The republicans hate unions and americans who work for unions or think of joining a union..Soon the republicans will form a *union death* panel....

    February 17, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Mica ought to know: He's now the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee."

    Yes, OUGHT to in SHOULD know...but it doesn't mean that he DOES know, just by virtue of his position on that Committee. As it is, the GOP put people in committees with almost purposeful intent to make sure that the very worst people possible were in charge of specific things: Barton, the guy who apologized to BP for the "government shakedown" was put in charge of energy...Shimkus, the guy who read a passage of the Bible at a hearing as if it proved that man's behavior cannot contribute to climate change, was put in charge of the environment....AND THEY PUT BACHMAN ON THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE! Are you seriously going to try to sell us the idea that Mica knows what he's talking about just because he chairs the transportation committee? Nonsense. Poppycock. Nothing the GOP says or does is without the primary motivation being political maneuvering for 2012, pandering to the rich and corporations (in this case, likely the companies like Delta) and filling their campaign coffers with contributions from those people. His only saving grace here is that he admitted his first attempt at cuts was hamfisted. Pay close attention though. Apparently, CNN sees fit to publish this story without publishing any INFORMATION from those reports, so all we've got here is he-said-she-said...AGAIN.

    February 17, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Bear

    Careful there Mica, Big Sis may sick Eric Holder after you. Go get her big guy. This whole administration is in ruins. Please, next time can we get some experience at the helm.

    February 17, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. they call me "tater salad"

    The heck with flying, if I can't get there by train, boat, bus, or car then I just won't go there.....I'm alright with that!

    February 17, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. John D.

    How refreshing! Someone telling the truth! Dem Tards hate it when Americans are told the truth.

    February 17, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. DJ

    So where is the story of WI legislators fleeing the state so they don't have to vote. Oh, that's right, they are democrats!!

    February 17, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Dave

    And the sad fact is; he's telling the truth!! TSA, by their own workers admission, has been stealing air travellers money and groping them. Add to it that they also have saved naked body scan pictures. This is way out of control. All brought to you by the gestapo, I mean Homeland Security and the bogus war on terror.

    February 17, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |