Mixed Messages A-Plenty

March 22, 2017

A draft Federal proposal would slash TSA’s budget by 11 percent, to $4.5 billion, and cut the Coast Guard’s budget by 14 percent, to about $7.8 billion, along with other massive Federal agency cuts of 10-14 percent, while according to the White House, illegals apparently continue to stream across the fenceless Mexican border. Apparently, we’re signaling to the aliens that we’re slacking up on security by land and by sea. At the same time, we’re telling American travelers that if you opt out of electronic screening (as is your right), you will be subject to the dreaded full-monte pat-down, resulting in longer lines requiring much more time and staffing from that 11 percent -depleted TSA. There is no mention of whether this might be a result of TSA’s 94 percent failure rate last year during red-team vulnerability tests at some major airports.

Most people are unaware that TSA has always had the option of using five different types of physical pat-downs, now being replaced with one universal approach. And this time, you will notice. The new physical touching will be more invasive in what TSA describes as a more "comprehensive" physical screening. One major airport notified employees and flight crews that the "more rigorous" searches will be more thorough and may involve making more intimate contact. So much for the notion of risk-based security.

There has also been much speculation that these funding cuts, which are simply retained in the general treasury, will be diverted to building “The Wall”, which Mexico has made abundantly clear it won’t (and can’t) pay for, and to increase ICE enforcement by 36 percent at these weakened borders at airports and ports, increasing Customs budget 27 percent and ICE budget 36 percent. So the GOP is seeking out alternatives to propel some of the worst security ideas ever perpetrated. If you thought last year’s long lines were bad, you might want to reconsider this year’s plans.