(NaturalNews) Despite the clever guise of what it purports are efforts necessary to ensure our safety from future terrorist attacks, it seems the one thing the Transportation Security Administration actually does effectively is to send Americans to their death. Especially during the holidays, more and more would-be air passengers seeking to skip the hassle of security checks at airports are instead choosing the more statistically dangerous option of driving to their destinations.
Researchers at Cornell University suggest that this trend of switching means of travel from air to road was indirectly responsible for an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month in the aftermath of 9/11. They also suggest that, in the first five years after the attacks, baggage screening alone had reduced passenger volume by five percent, sending many - who ordinarily would have flown safely - to their doom instead, in no fewer than 100 road fatalities.
According to analysis published in The American Scientist, it would take quite a lot for the dangers of flying to match those of road travel. In short, it would require a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 to take place every month. Put it all together, and it becomes clear that the many invasive and often humiliating hurdles currently in place at airports have successfully dissuaded the population from wanting to bother with what would otherwise be the safest traveling option -- the very disturbing result being that more people have died as an indirect result of the events of 9/11 and the subsequent creation of the TSA, than died from being on the planes that tragic day.
Death by automobile is just the latest entry in a long list of TSA offenses
As the most visible arm of government charged with keeping Americans in check domestically, the TSA has, since its formation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, quickly earned a reputation for being too costly, embarrassingly ineffective and, as recognized earlier in the year by the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, generally incompetent. Put another way, the highly scrutinized branch of the Homeland Security department now appears to have grown too big for its breeches.
Understandably fearful as the American public may have been in the days immediately following 9/11, the many follies of the TSA raise questions of whether the agency hasn't outlived its usefulness. With an annual budget of $8 billion, a lackluster list of successes and an army of employees (from airport screeners and behavior detection officers to special task forces and explosive detection canine teams), among whom thievery is reportedly commonplace (with at least 400 agents having been fired since 2003 for stealing from passengers), the TSA's policies - and perhaps even its very existence - may be growing more difficult to justify.
Considering too that the agency subjects innumerable innocent Americans to the same treatment afforded a terrorist, the cost of the TSA's supposedly safer air travel seems to be ever climbing. Even if travelers are not invasively strip searched or excessively patted down, as was one woman dying of leukemia who was "forced to lift her shirt at a security checkpoint so that agents could inspect her bandages for possible security threats," then they're being repeatedly exposed to harmful technologies. Despite claims as to the safety, effectiveness and necessity of the TSA's full-body scanners, in stopping another would-be successful Underwear Bomber for example, a 2011 investigative report by ProPublica/PBS NewsHour indicated that the backscatter machines could be responsible for the development of cancer in between six and 100 U.S. airline passengers per year.
From this perspective, and especially as the level of harassment of innocent Americans grows disproportionately to the threat of attack, it's certainly no bargain for the taxpayer who's forced to subsidize such measures. As if to rub their noses in it, each airline passenger pays a $2.50 "September 11 Security Fee" for every leg of his or her flight.