As reported by Harriet Baskas, some airports may revert to private security guards to secure airports. When the TSA was established, airports were allowed to opt out of TSA control of security. Five airports opted out of the TSA system including San Francisco, Kansas City, Rochester International, Jackson Hole and Tupelo Regional. Baskas reports that Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Charlotte N.C. are considering dumping the TSA in favor of private security guards.
Some airport managers are fed up with the TSA and are looking for change, “The TSA has grown too big and we’re unhappy with the way it’s doing things,” said Larry Dale, president of Orlando Sanford International Airport. “My board is sold on the fact that the free enterprise system works well and that we should go with a private company we can hold directly accountable for security and customer satisfaction.”
Public outcry has fueled the controversy that has spread to lawmakers. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), recently named chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has encouraged the nation’s 200 biggest airports to opt out, calling TSA a “bloated, poorly focused and top-heavy bureaucracy.”
But even if airports opt out of TSA control of security, the TSA still sets standards for searches. The virtual strip search scanner machines and genital touching groping would still be required of the private contractor. However, the attitudes of security agents may be better if they work for a company that has a vested interest in keeping the public happy during searches. Much of the criticism of the TSA has been following the actions of rude TSA officers.
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