TSA shuts door on private airport screening program

Washington (CNN) — A program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private screeners is being brought to a standstill, just a month after the Transportation Security Administration said it was “neutral” on the program.

TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.

My snarky response is “It’s a pretty cool gig where you get to prevent anyone else from doing your job because you do not personally see an advantage to it.”

But really, I’m not sure how wrong he is, because…

Though little known, the Screening Partnership Program allowed airports to replace government screeners with private contractors who wear TSA-like uniforms, meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight. Among the airports that have “opted out” of government screening are San Francisco and Kansas City.

Incidents like this aside, to the extent that people are upset with the TSA, it’s the policies and procedures that people are upset about rather than the individuals. For the most part. One advantage of privatization is that if a company allows its employees to abuse their authority as in the babymilk case, an independent entity (in this case, the airport) can step in and simply hand the contract over to someone else. I suspect an airport telling the government that they would like to replace everybody that works in security with somebody else that’s maybe nicer to customers, they would get a far different reaction.

Everyone has a story to tell, of course, but most of mine involving airport security involve policies and procedures and not who happens to be wearing the uniform.


Category: Newsroom

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