The DHS Follies

I sometimes wonder if the Homeland Security — and the Transportation Security Agency in particular — shouldn’t just take the plunge and change their acronym to WTF:

Vanessa Gibbs, 17, claims the Transportation Security Administration stopped her at the security gate because of the design of a gun on her handbag.

Gibbs said she had no problem going through security at Jacksonville International Airport, but rather, when she headed home from Virginia.

After agents figured out the gun was a fake, Gibbs said, TSA told her to check the bag or turn it over.

By the time security wrapped up the inspection, the pregnant teen missed her flight, and Southwest Airlines sent her to Orlando instead, worrying her mother, who was already waiting for her to arrive at JIA.

They’re calling it a … hold on a second … she’s a pregnant 17-year-old? Not sure what that has to do with anything, but … man.

Anyway, they’re claiming the purse violated the rule against “replica” weapons. There’s a picture of the offending accessory in the article and how anyone could be confused about this is beyond me. This would only be dangerous in a James Bond movie where the beautiful Russian agent detaches it and shoots the mole. In real life, no one would give a shit. But the TSA does not function in real life; they function in a space where they exercise arbitrary power.

OK, but that’s TSA. I’m sure the rest of DHS is efficient in the way that they … oh, man, WTF?!

The WMSRDC recently purchased and transferred homeland security equipment to these counties — including 13 snow cone machines at a total cost of $11,700.

The Michigan Homeland Security Grant Program’s Allowable Cost Justification document, dated May 9, 2011, says the snow cone machines can make ice to prevent heat-related illnesses during emergencies, treat injuries and provide snow cones as an outreach at promotional events.

This is typical “justify it somehow” government accounting bullsh … wait a minute. $900?! Who the fucks buys a snow cone machine for $900? I could get one off Amazon for a tenth of that. Hell, I could buy a really good one for half that. Now $12,000 isn’t a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. But you know that this is just the tip of the snow cone with these guys. If they’re buying $900 snow cone machines openly because they could be used to treat heat exhaustion, what are they doing quietly in the budget?

Well, we all know government is inefficient. We accept that. The military is inefficient but they do such a good job of protecting us that even Libyan rebels are protected. At least the DHS is … oh, man, what the fucking fuck?

The Department of Homeland Security has spent billions since 9/11 trying to keep dangerous people and dangerous explosives off airplanes, and treating us all air travelers like potential terrorists in the process. But according to a former security adviser to a leading airline, the terrorists have changed the game — and the government hasn’t yet caught on.

According to Ben Brandt, a former adviser to Delta, the airlines and the feds should be less concerned with what gels your aunt puts in her carry-on, and more concerned about lax screening for terrorist sympathizers among the airlines’ own work force. They should be worried about terrorists shipping their bombs in air cargo. And they should be worried about terrorists shooting or bombing airports without ever crossing the security gates.

There’s a certain “Guns of August” aspect to anti-terrorism. Our officials are always preparing for the last attack rather than the next one (or, in the case of DHS, simply ticking items of their list as attacks happen, whether those items are related to the attack or not). But $56 billion should buy a little more in the way of anticipation. It should buy a modicum of vision. This isn’t the first report I’ve heard that DHS is failing at this.

So we’re not anticipating the next attack. But we are keeping purses off planes and nice refreshing snow cones available to hot people. What a way to run a “war”.

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  1. Seattle Outcast

    Probably the biggest problem with DHS is Janet Napalitano.

    That she’s Obama’s pet little tyrant is pretty much 99% of the problem.

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  2. richtaylor365

    The problems with TSA are endemic within the entire structure, minimum wage poorly trained (no police officer powers) agents who from day one are programed to not only NOT think for themselves but must exhibit zero tolerance. So they have the theory down pat (anything that could possibly be used as a weapon gets scrutiny) without the proper application (do some elemental due diligence yourself at the scene and if necessary, call a supervisor so that a timely decision can be made with little or no interruption to the traveler).

    I use to think that they properly run plain clothes agents through the checkpoints with dubious gear, for training purposes, so that agents would be able to see everything and make better decisions, but this obviously not the case, they can’t make any decisions and probably risk disciplinary actions if they do. But I could live with that as long as somebody with juice was close by and could inject reason into the mix, this is not happening, so we still have people missing their flights over the stupidest of stuff. Another reason (which I have advocated before) for disbanding the TSA and turning it over to a private entity, we could get twice the service at half the cost.

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