Seattle Airport Considers Dropping TSA for Private Security

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-Seattle- Washington: This just in- the TSA continues making a 12 hour drive seem more attractive then commuting with standard commercial airliners. Recently Seattle-Tacoma International airport, better known as SEA-TAC, created a few headlines within the main stream media. This happened because managing director Lance Lyttle announced publicly to local KIRO 7 news that he was;

 “Considering all options [to reduce waiting times] including replacing the TSA with private security contractors. It’s really a sign of us looking outside the box,”  Lance Lyttle said. “We have a problem and we can’t operate the same way and expect different results.”

Travelers’ reviews and the TSA’s official website state that check in times for flights can often reach well over an hour and a half during peak travel periods. This announcement comes just shortly after one of the world’s busiest airports – Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – issued a warning to its TSA agents last month over too few screeners and growing passenger waiting times.

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TSA Satire [NSFW] Spoiler alert it’s not funny.

According to a TSA spokesperson, the security line waiting times have jumped dramatically in the first few months of 2016 as a result of many factors such as remodeled security checkpoints, a reduction in the number of agents, insufficient training, and more people flying. But the honest truth is that the Transportation Security Administration, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that created it, and the National Defense Authorization Act that sustains it are, and were always a part of the Hegelian incrementalism designed to create a one world authoritarian police state. It is no secret that prior to 9/11, very limited federal security aviation requirements existed. Yet under these progressive 9/11 provisions the TSA has exponentially grown the federal authority to oversee security for highways, railroads, buses, mass transit systems, pipelines, sea-ports and more than 450 airports in the United States.

Private security and screening did not fully disappear under the TSA however – airports are allowed to opt out of federal screening and hire firms to do the job instead. Such firms must still get TSA approval under its Screening Partnership Program (SPP) and follow TSA procedures.  Among the U.S. airports with privately operated checkpoints are San Francisco International AirportKansas City International AirportGreater Rochester International AirportTupelo Regional Airport;Key West International AirportCharles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport; and Jackson Hole Airport.

Numerous critics have asserted that the TSA is a waste of tax-payer finances. They cite the fact that TSA employees have literally been caught sleeping on the job, bypassed security checks, and on multiple occasions failed TSAsnoozeto use good judgment and common sense. TSA agents have been accused of mistreating and sexually harassing passengers, having used invasive screening procedures and  touching genitals – including those of children – removing nipple rings with pliers and searching passengers or their belongings for items other than weapons or explosives in order to steal passenger posessions. The TSA fired 28 agents and suspended 15 others after an investigation determined they failed to scan checked baggage for explosives. The TSA was also accused of having spent lavishly on events unrelated to airport security, installing body scanners for insider profit instead of safety, and wasting money in hiring, including a recent $1.4 million purchase of an app that makes right and left arrows. A 2013 report by the Homeland Security Department Inspector General’s Office charged that TSA was using criminal investigators to do the job of lower paid employees, wasting millions of dollars a year.

On Wednesday, Peter Neffenger, Head of the TSA told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that he’s made resolving the problem of long lines a top “priority” for TSA and plans to visit Sea-Tac as early as next week. During a Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday, Neffenger welcomed Senate proposals to beef up airport security, saying We have to mitigate what is going to be a very challenging summer season by pushing as many new hires as we can into the system.” The total failure of the TSA to detect bombs during drills and the many other deep-seated issues of the TSA were not discussed.

Related: Today in a 91-5 vote, the Senate also adopted an amendment from Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) that would double the number of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams — which are deployed to inspect travelers  This comes after a vote Thursday which adopted an amendment containing the text of several bills to strengthen airport employee vetting, expand the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program and donate unneeded security equipment to foreign airports that have direct flights to the U.S.

Long lines Image credit seattletimes.com

Long lines at Sea-Tac airport Image credit seattletimes.com

The provision was sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Lawmakers have been pushing to attach the provisions to the FAA bill after a deadly terrorist attack on a Brussels airport and subway station last month. Current legal authority for FAA programs expires July 15.

Events around the world and security lapses at U.S. airports necessitate new protections for the traveling public,Thune said in a statement.

Thune’s amendment would increase random inspections of airport workers at secure area access points, require the TSA to conduct a review of the insider threat posed by airport employees and enhance employee vetting and eligibility requirements.

It would also expand the use of so-called red teams, which are special units which conduct covert operations to test airport security by attempting to sneak dangerous materials into airports.

An article published today on TheHill.com references the same Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday where TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger welcomed the Senate proposals to beef up airport security. Neffenger said if he received additional VIPR teams, he would quote put them to use…Anything we can do to tighten the oversight of the insider population to verify their trusted status is worth doing.”

The question is what exactly are all these provisions being set in place after the attack on Brussels actually meant to accomplish. The congressional idea that somehow the answer to the TSA debacle is simply to add more agents doing random checks clearly shows just how out of touch with reality some of these congressional representatives really are.

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Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.

Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.

Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”

Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.

Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.

Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.

Today many whose goal once was the discovery of truth are now paid handsomely to hide it. “Free market economists” are paid to sell offshoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from long ago, we are best shed of them. Their place has been taken by “the New Economy,” a mythical economy that allegedly consists of high-tech white collar jobs in which Americans innovate and finance activities that occur offshore. All Americans need in order to participate in this “new economy” are finance degrees from Ivy League universities, and then they will work on Wall Street at million dollar jobs.

Economists who were once respectable took money to contribute to this myth of “the New Economy.”

And not only economists sell their souls for filthy lucre. Recently we have had reports of medical doctors who, for money, have published in peer-reviewed journals concocted “studies” that hype this or that new medicine produced by pharmaceutical companies that paid for the “studies.”

The Council of Europe is investigating the drug companies’ role in hyping a false swine flu pandemic in order to gain billions of dollars in sales of the vaccine.

The media helped the US military hype its recent Marja offensive in Afghanistan, describing Marja as a city of 80,000 under Taliban control. It turns out that Marja is not urban but a collection of village farms.

And there is the global warming scandal, in which  NGOs. the UN, and the nuclear industry colluded in concocting  a doomsday scenario in order to create profit in pollution.

Wherever one looks, truth has fallen to money.

Wherever money is insufficient to bury the truth, ignorance, propaganda, and short memories finish the job.

I remember when, following CIA director William Colby’s testimony before the Church Committee in the mid-1970s, presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan issued executive orders preventing the CIA and U.S. black-op groups from assassinating foreign leaders.  In 2010 the US Congress was told by Dennis Blair, head of national intelligence, that the US now assassinates its own citizens in addition to foreign leaders.

When Blair told the House Intelligence Committee that US citizens no longer needed to be arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of a capital crime, just murdered on suspicion  alone of being a “threat,” he wasn’t impeached. No investigation pursued. Nothing happened. There was no Church Committee. In the mid-1970s the CIA got into trouble for plots to kill Castro. Today it is American citizens who are on the hit list. Whatever objections there might be don’t carry any weight. No one in government is in any trouble over the assassination of U.S. citizens by the U.S. government.

As an economist, I am astonished that the American economics profession has no awareness whatsoever that the U.S. economy has been destroyed by the offshoring of U.S. GDP to overseas countries. U.S. corporations, in pursuit of absolute advantage or lowest labor costs and maximum CEO “performance bonuses,” have moved the production of goods and services marketed to Americans to China, India, and elsewhere abroad. When I read economists describe offshoring as free trade based on comparative advantage, I realize that there is no intelligence or integrity in the American economics profession.

Intelligence and integrity have been purchased by money. The transnational or global U.S. corporations pay multi-million dollar compensation packages to top managers, who achieve these “performance awards” by replacing U.S. labor with foreign labor. While Washington worries about “the Muslim threat,” Wall Street, U.S. corporations and “free market” shills destroy the U.S. economy and the prospects of tens of millions of Americans.

Americans, or most of them, have proved to be putty in the hands of the police state.

Americans have bought into the government’s claim that security requires the suspension of civil liberties and accountable government. Astonishingly, Americans, or most of them, believe that civil liberties, such as habeas corpus and due process, protect “terrorists,” and not themselves. Many also believe that the Constitution is a tired old document that prevents government from exercising the kind of police state powers necessary to keep Americans safe and free.

Most Americans are unlikely to hear from anyone who would tell them any different.

I was associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I was Business Week’s first outside columnist, a position I held for 15 years. I was columnist for a decade for Scripps Howard News Service, carried in 300 newspapers. I was a columnist for the Washington Times and for newspapers in France and Italy and for a magazine in Germany. I was a contributor to the New York Times and a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times. Today I cannot publish in, or appear on, the American “mainstream media.”

For the last six years I have been banned from the “mainstream media.” My last column in the New York Times appeared in January, 2004, coauthored with Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer representing New York. We addressed the offshoring of U.S. jobs. Our op-ed article produced a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and live coverage by C-Span. A debate was launched. No such thing could happen today.

For years I was a mainstay at the Washington Times, producing credibility for the Moony newspaper as a Business Week columnist, former Wall Street Journal editor, and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. But when I began criticizing Bush’s wars of aggression, the order came down to Mary Lou Forbes to cancel my column.

The American corporate media does not serve the truth.  It serves the government and the interest groups that empower the government.

America’s fate was sealed when the public and the anti-war movement bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory. The government’s account of 9/11 is contradicted by much evidence. Nevertheless, this defining event of our time, which has launched the US on interminable wars of aggression and a domestic police state, is a taboo topic for investigation in the media. It is pointless to complain of war and a police state when one accepts the premise upon which they are based.

These trillion dollar wars have created financing problems for Washington’s deficits and threaten the U.S. dollar’s role as world reserve currency. The wars and the pressure that the budget deficits put on the dollar’s value have put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. Former Goldman Sachs chairman and U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is after these protections for the elderly. Fed chairman Bernanke is also after them. The Republicans are after them as well. These protections are called “entitlements” as if they are some sort of welfare that people have not paid for in payroll taxes all their working lives.

With over 21 per cent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980, with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the “war on terror,” the liberty and prosperity of the American people have been thrown into the trash bin of history.

The militarism of the U.S. and Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate greed, will now run their course. As the pen is censored and its might extinguished, I am signing off.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

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Independent journalist and funder of We Are Change, a grassroots media outlet.

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