Wednesday, October 24, 2012

TSA employs 62,000 people and the annual $8.1 billion budget in 2012

TSA has responded more aggressively to criticisms of its operations. (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GettyImages)

The Transportation Security Administration has started to respond to wide criticism of its operations in a more aggressive manner. In an opinion piece in the Rockland County Times last week, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein responded to a column by resident Diane Dimond, a syndicated columnist.
”Perhaps the next time Diane and her family fly out of a New York-area airport to a fun vacation spot, they’ll look out the car window at the New York skyline minus the Twin Towers and remember some of the true facts about TSA and why it exists,” Farbstein said, according to Forbes.
Forbes reports that Dimond had many criticisms of TSA practices that Farbstein responded to point-by-point. Included examples were the inconvenience and invasion of privacy in taking one’s shoes, jacket or belt off. She went on to say that TSA agents, “treat all of us like we’re new arrivals at a prison camp.”
Farbstein responded that Dimond, “criticized the very security measures that were designed to keep passengers safe – to help ensure that there is not another 9/11 in her back yard.”
Forbes reports another incident that drew response happened last week when radio talk show host Dana Loesch tweeted about an incident at the Phoenix airport, claiming she was sexually molested after a sensor showed traces of explosives on her. She was upset that the incident took place in private.
But for all of the complaints, most U.S. travelers have a positive opinion of the TSA.
According to a Gallup poll released in August, 54 percent of Americans think TSA is doing either an excellent or a good job of handling airport screening. Among Americans who have flown at least once in the past year, 57 percent have an excellent or good opinion of the agency, reported Forbes.
TSA employs 62,000 people and the annual $8.1 billion budget seems high to many critics who say the same work was done under for far less by private firms before Sept. 11, while under federal guidelines.

DHS/TSA Watch:

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