Recently, the Department of Homeland Security released a report based on an internal investigation, where undercover teams were able to successfully sneak banned items (mostly handguns and fake bombs) past TSA screeners 67 out of 70 times. That equates to a 95% failure rate, or more pathetically, a 5% success rate.
These series of tests were conducted by Homeland Security “Red Teams” who posed as passengers, setting out to beat the system. According to ABC News, “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.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called the failure rate “deeply alarming.” He went on to say that, “over the past six years, we have seen TSA consume an enormous amount of government resources, but I’m not convinced we have much to show for it. After spending over $540 million on baggage screening equipment and millions more on training, the failure rate today is higher than it was in 2007. Something is not working.”
And according to ABC News, “this is not the first time the TSA has had trouble spotting Red Team agents. A similar episode played out in 2013, when an undercover investigator with a fake bomb hidden on his body passed through a metal detector, went through a pat-down at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty Airport, and was never caught.”
More recently, the DHS inspector general’s office concluded a series of undercover tests targeting checked baggage screening at airports across the country. That review found “vulnerabilities” throughout the system, attributing them to human error and technological failures, according to a three-paragraph summary of the review released in September. In addition, the review determined that despite spending $540 million for checked baggage screening equipment and another $11 million for training since a previous review in 2009, the TSA failed to make any noticeable improvements in that time.
So, we are left to question, why do we bother to have a TSA at all? What good are they doing? Why do we spend $7.4 billion of our tax dollars a year on this agency when they have proved to be ineffective?
One solution could be to privatize the industry and implement services and solutions that could help improve airport security capabilities and identification rates. Securiport, a global leader in the design and implementation of passenger biometric recognition, civil aviation security, immigration control systems and intelligent information management and reporting software systems, is committed to improving the capabilities and effectiveness of civil aviation security in order to create more secure countries and to enhance passenger safety.
Securiport’s Civil Aviation and Immigration Security Services (CAISS) is a comprehensive security solution that empowers border management and immigration officials with the tools necessary to enhance civil aviation security and combat criminal activity. The CAISS utilizes advanced biometric identification systems and provides proprietary intelligent information used to identify potential security risks and criminal activity, further strengthening the effectiveness of airport’s security capabilities.
When coupled with Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management System, a methodology for cross-referencing passenger information across international traveler databases, such as INTERPOL’s I-24/7, the CAISS provides governments, airport security, and immigration officials with a comprehensive set of traveler data and information that can be used to confirm a passenger’s identity and uncover certain security risks. The CAISS also includes Watch-list Management, which crosschecks passenger information against multiple government databases and performs real-time identification checks. Implementing a solution such a Securiport’s CAISS, airport security officials can drastically improve the performance and effectiveness of airport security checkpoints and better prevent terrorists and criminals from illegally smuggling banned items onto planes.
With the assistance of Securiport, implementing advanced solutions such as the Civil Aviation and Immigration Security Services (CAISS), airports can substantially improve their security capabilities and criminal identification. Just last year, Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management Data Analytics enabled international authorities to interdict a Senegal-based human trafficking ring, resulting in numerous criminal arrests. In addition, Securiport’s CAISS assisted in the identification and arrest of an individual traveling with a stolen passport, who belonged to a vast network of counterfeiters.
By leveraging intelligent civil aviation security systems, such as Securiport’s CAISS, airport security officials will be able to equip themselves with the actionable data and necessary information needed to identify and combat criminal activity in order to keep their country secure. This creates safer and more secure nations.