What happens when you create a bureaucracy to cover failure

Posted: November 15, 2007 in Uncategorized

I present to you The Department of Homeland Security–

You have to put both of these stories together to get the bigger picture here:

Story 1:

Bomb parts get by U.S. airport security in tests

reuters.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Undercover government investigators were able to pass through U.S. airport security carrying liquids and other materials that could be used to make explosive devices, exposing vulnerabilities in the screening process, said a congressional report released on Wednesday.

The tests “clearly demonstrated that a terrorist using these devices could cause severe damage to an airplane and threaten the safety of passengers,” said the report by the General Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

[SNIP]

In most cases, Transportation Security Administration officers followed proper procedure but the investigators managed to get the concealed material onto airplanes by taking advantage of weaknesses in the system, the report said.

[SNIP]

“The TSA needs to explain how after spending billions of dollars over six years, it still is failing to stop dangerous materials from making it onto airplanes. This is unacceptable and has to be fixed,” said chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat. (more…)

Okay, now this is where it really turns sad.

Story 2:

TSA: No Intent to Tip Off Screeners

By EILEEN SULLIVAN

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Transportation Security Administration denied Wednesday that top agency officials intended to tip off airport security screeners that they were being covertly tested last year.

An April 28, 2006 e-mail sent by a TSA employee to airport security officials across the country described an undercover Transportation Department test of screening checkpoints. But agency Administrator Kip Hawley said the message was sent not as a tip-off, but out of concern that al-Qaida or other terrorists might be posing as transportation officials.

The incident, now under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s watchdog, was the topic of a heated congressional hearing on Wednesday.

At issue is whether aviation security screeners have been told ahead of time that there would be covert testing at their airports. Doing so would defeat the point of the covert tests. TSA, which is part of the Homeland Security Department, conducts thousands of these tests each year in an effort to spot weaknesses in the screening system.

Former Homeland Security Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin said the April incident is part of a pattern of tip-offs. Past investigations found cheating by screeners at Jackson-Evers International Airport in Mississippi and at San Francisco International Airport, the IGs report found. (more…)

Regardless of what the TSA wants to call the e-mail, they are admitting that an e-mail was sent.

Bottom line, airport security officials KNEW ahead of time that something was coming down the pike and billions of dollars later still were not able to pass the test.

LA Times quoted part of the e-mail:

The e-mail, dated April 28, 2006, was sent to more than 650 employees and titled “Notice of Possible Security Test.” It began: “This information is provided for your situational awareness. Several airport authorities and airport police departments have recently received informal notice of possible DOT/FAA [Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration] security testing at airports around the nation.”

The message also describes a couple who try to penetrate security, place improvised explosive devises on planes and test gate staff.

“The woman has an ID with an oriental woman’s picture, even though she is Caucasian. We are getting the word out,” the e-mail reads. (more…)

Don’t worry. In about 10 years or so there will be another bureaucracy created to oversee the DHS which oversees the TSA (which used to be under the DOT).

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