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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.