(NaturalNews) The comedy of errors that is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would truly be funny; if only the agency's abysmal performances on nearly every level did not carry such serious implications for the genuine safety and security of air travel.
When its agents aren't pulling toddlers off airplanes because, somehow, 18-month-olds make it onto their terrorist watch lists, the agency is best-known for its habitual civil rights violations, such as agents' sexually abusive groping of old women, babies in diapers and attractive female travelers. Now the TSA is gaining a reputation for being completely incompetent as well, as a new report by the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General reveals.
The IG found that the agency did not follow up on security breaches at Newark (New Jersey) Liberty International Airport and furthermore does not effectively track security breaches and violations that occur elsewhere around the country.
A 'gaping hole' in airport security? Say it isn't so...
"This report identifies a gaping hole in our airport security system and gives us a framework for how to improve security at Newark Liberty Airport and all across the country," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., vice chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee, in a statement following the recent release of the IG's report.
Lautenberg reportedly sought the IG report following incidents at Newark's airport which included an unauthorized man gaining access to the secure area of the airport, shutting operations for six hours, and an unscreened dead dog being placed on a plane, Bloomberg News reported.
The report said TSA only responded to 42 percent of the security breaches it says were committed between January 2010 and May 2011 at the airport, the largest in Lautenberg's home state.
In a classic understatement, Lautenberg says the TSA must take allsecurity breaches seriously.
"The recent attempt by al-Qaeda to take down a U.S.-bound airliner showed us that terrorists are still determined to exploit aviation security gaps in order to attack America," he said.
"Newark Liberty Airport and airports around the country have made security improvements, but it is clear that much more needs to be done. The TSA should adopt the Inspector General's recommendations without delay and I will continue working in the Senate to improve our homeland security," he added.
The senator's office noted that the investigation "recommends that the TSA better define what constitutes a security breach and develop a comprehensive oversight program to ensure breaches are accurately reported and that the agency takes action to correct vulnerabilities."
No 'effective mechanism' to track security breaches
The IG report slapped the agency both for its inability to properly identify a threat and failure to report and/or track such violations.
"Without an effective mechanism in place to gather information about all security breaches, TSA is unable to monitor trends or make general improvements to security," said the IG.
David Castelveter, a spokesman for the TSA, tried to spin the bad news.
"TSA's goal at all times is to maximize transportation security to stay ahead of evolving terrorist threats," he said in an email to Bloomberg News.
Well, that's noble. And it's also obvious, which is what makes the IG's findings so incredibly telling. When an agency has difficulty performing and fulfilling one of its most basic roles or duties, it becomes a fair question to ask what the point is of continuing to allow such an agency to exist at all.
Thrown together in haste following the 9/11 attacks, the TSA has never lived up to expectations. Yet lawmakers continue to perpetuate its existence and tolerate its incompetence.
It just goes to show that when the Leviathan spawns a new agency, regardless of its record of (non)performance, it is impossible to get rid of.