Feeds

TSA squanders millions of US tax dolllars

Magic gizmos desperately wanted

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is squandering many millions of dollars on unnecessary comfort items and decorations, failing to detect weapons and explosives at airport checkpoints, and demanding enormous investments in high-tech gear that it hopes will compensate for its palpable deficiencies, according to a report released Tuesday by US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General Richard Skinner.

The report found that DHS screeners were no better at their jobs than they were during the previous audit in 2003, which, in turn, indicated that they hadn't made any progress since the days before the September 2001 terrorist atrocities.

Skinner & Co also reported very large and blatantly improper expenditures on decorative items for TSA's new crisis management center in Herndon, Virginia. These purchases were deliberately concealed as "equipment and tools," but they included $252,392 for artwork, $29,032 for art consultants, $30,085 for silk plants and flowers, and $13,861 for lamps, along with cable TV in 45 of 55 offices, seven kitchens outfitted with dishwashers, automatic ice makers, microwave ovens and costly SubZero brand Yuppie refrigerators, and a 4,200-square-foot fitness center with a towel laundry service - all for the comfort and convenience of a mere 79 employees.

The project manager, a facilities operation officer, and an employee also used a government purchase card for extra comfy office furniture and personal accessories, which included sofas, armoires, and leather briefcases, the IG said.

Meanwhile, long-established problems with screener incompetence and theft of passenger valuables continue unabated, although the TSA reckons that buying a lot of super high-tech gear will solve these problems handily. Walk-through automatic bomb detectors slated for roughly 100 airports, estimated to cost $30m, should do the trick. And the TSA is busy testing several other technological marvels, including numerous data-mining schemes, for deployment at airports, any of which might turn out to be the security magic bullet that the agency is praying for.

All that's needed now is more money. ®

Related stories

Passenger screening gimmick stuck at the gate
DHS comes clean on CAPPS, lets self off hook
'See through clothes' scanner gets outing at Heathrow
Airport snoop system thrown in $102m garbage can

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.