Because if there’s one quality that the TSA has consistently demonstrated – from pranking coeds with fake drugs to harassing fans of rival sports franchises – it’s seriousness. And professionalization. Seriousness and professionalization are the two qualities that the TSA has consistently demonstrated. Good times:
About 10,000 airport security workers will get access to secret intelligence that could help stop terrorist attacks on planes. The [TSA will give]… them more detailed information about tactics and threats… [TSA] hopes to empower its higher-level workers as part of an effort to professionalize airport security. The 10,000 people in line to get classified information are managers, supervisors and “behavior detection officers” who roam airports looking for suspicious people. They represent about 20% of the TSA’s airport workforce and exclude screeners who scan passengers and bags… The information could include copies of terrorist training videos or tips vaguely describing a terrorism suspect, experts said. “Some classified information seems innocuous but is classified because it was derived from an intercepted phone conversation,” said Steven Aftergood, an intelligence-policy specialist for the Federation of American Scientists.
Seems fair. Insofar as TSA agents need to watch out for terrorists, it’s a good idea to educate them about what terrorists look like (we weren’t doing that already?) There are probably a few straightforward downsides Giving behavior profilers information about ongoing plots – if that’s a part of this new plan – might throw them off their game by focusing them in a single direction. There’s also an argument to be made that you don’t “professionalize airport security” by giving the officers security clearance. That’s usually a prerequisite.
But those are process considerations.
The real concern is that TSA has a habit of hiring and employing – sometimes for years at a time – out and out drug dealers. They’ve also recently taken to hiring convicted felons and then badgering airports into badging them:
The TSA hired a guy… to do security work at the airport. It turns out that Giancarlo committed a robbery when he was 17 and was convicted when he was 18. According to the TSA, that’s not an issue. He was still qualified for the job. But the TSA doesn’t do badging; the airport does. So, Giancarlo went to the airport to get his Security Identification Display Area (SIDA) badge which allows for access to all secure areas without an escort… [Richmond] airport uncovered the robbery in a background check, even though Giancarlo left it off his application, and refused to give him a badge… the TSA started threatening the airport until they buckled and issued the guy a badge.
An agency that won’t and can’t keep out petty criminals seems pretty vulnerable to, say, determined foreign double agents seeking data on what TSA “thinks a terrorist looks like.” They already know some of that because of past TSA idiocy. But still.
References and related after the jump…
* TSA Agent Reduces Coed To Tears With Fake Drug Prank [Jaunted]
* Is the TSA Pulling More Pranks at Philadelphia’s Airport? [Jaunted]
* 10,000 TSA staff to get secret intel [USA Today]
* Another TSA Fail As Agent Admits To Selling Drugs
* Related Mere Rhetoric Posts: