Two years ago we learned that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) failed 95 percent of red team exercises. With such an abysmal record the agency must have been spending the last two years furiously improving its security screening processes, right? If the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is any indication, the TSA hasn’t improved its processes at all:
Last Thursday, what’s referred to as the “Red Team” in town from Washington D.C., posed as passengers and attempted to sneak items through security that should easily be caught.
In most cases, they succeeded in getting the banned items though. 17 out of 18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected.
Two sources said that the tests carried out Thursday were eventually stopped after the failure rate reached 95 percent.
It’s pretty sad when the exercise has to be stopped because the failure rate was only a hair’s breadth away from 100 percent.
I’m sure a spokesperson for the MSP TSA will have a list of excuses to try to explain away the 95 percent failure rating. But there’s no arguing that a 95 percent failure rating is touch to distinguish from having no security at all. If the TSA were abolished today and replaced with nothing the only real difference would be that air travelers wouldn’t have to show up at the airport two hours early just to get through the security line and the taxpayers would save a lot of money. Of course the TSA wouldn’t be replaced with nothing, it would be replaced with private security, which would be a significant improvement. Unlike the TSA, which has faced no repercussions for its ongoing 95 percent failure rating, private security firms can be held accountable and are therefore motivated to improve.