Major US Airport To Evict TSA Screeners
Orlando Sanford International could prompt stampede of other opt-outs
One of America’s busiest airports, Orlando Sanford International, has announced it will opt out of using TSA workers to screen passengers, a move which threatens the highly unpopular federal agency’s role in other airports across the nation.
“The president of the airport said Tuesday that he would apply again to use private operators to screen passengers, using federal standards and oversight,” reports the Miami Herald.
With Sanford International having originally been prevented by the TSA from opting out back in November 2010 when the federal agency froze the ability for airports to use their own private screeners, a law passed by the Senate last month forces the TSA to reconsider applications.
Larry Dale hinted that the move was motivated by the innumerable horror stories passengers have told of their encounters with the TSA, noting that the change was designed to provide a more “customer friendly” operation.
The agency has been slow to reissue the guidelines on the the rule change, prompting Republican Representatives John Mica of Florida, Darrell Issa of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah to press TSA head John Pistole to implement the mandate.
Appearing at Orlando Sanford International yesterday, Mica said he had written to 200 airports advising them of the opportunity to op out of using TSA screeners.
Orlando Sanford is in the top 30 busiest airports in the world, with large numbers of takeoffs and landings.
The TSA has been keen to downplay the opportunity for airports to dispense with their screeners, fearing a mass exodus that could undermine the justification for the agency’s continued existence, especially given the fact that its reputation has been repeatedly savaged by a number of scandals.
The most recent controversy involved a viral You Tube video created by engineer Jon Corbett which demonstrated how the TSA’s body scanners were virtually useless because they are unable to detect objects carried on the side of the body carried in a pocket.
The TSA responded by threatening the media not to cover the issue while putting out a blog statement that completely failed to rebut the claims made by Corbett.
A November 2010 poll found that the TSA’s “enhanced pat downs,” some of which include touching genitalia, angered 57% of regular adult fliers.
West Yellowstone Airport in Montana has already replaced its TSA screeners with private security. Bert Mooney Airport, also in Montana, is attempting to do the same.
However, when Texas lawmakers attempted to pass a bill last year that would have outlawed invasive TSA pat downs, the feds threatened to implement a blockade that would have imposed a de facto “no fly zone” over the lone star state.
Kicking out the incompetent, criminally-inclined and abusive TSA across the nation will not only encourage millions of peeved Americans to start flying again, pumping much needed money into the travel industry, it will also create thousands of new private sector jobs.