We Will Spare No $500 Cheese Plate to Keep the Homeland Safe

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From The Associated Press:

WASHINGTON (AP)—The government agency in charge of airport security spent nearly a half-million dollars on an awards ceremony at a lavish hotel, including $81,000 for plaques and $500 for cheese displays, according to an internal report obtained by The Associated Press.

Awards were presented to 543 Transportation Security Administration employees and 30 organizations, including a "lifetime achievement award" for one worker with the 2-year-old agency. Almost $200,000 was spent on travel and lodging for attendees.

The investigation by the Homeland Security Department's inspector general, Clark Kent Ervin, also found the TSA gave its senior executives bonuses averaging $16,000, higher than at any other federal government agency, and failed to provide adequate justification in more than a third of the 88 cases examined.

The TSA's sorry, abbreviation-choked response:

As the DHS IG report acknowledges, TSA followed all OPM policies and contracting procedures for the Awards Ceremony. Similarly, the IG found no irregularities in TSA's cash performance awards. […]

Yeah, that's part of the problem. First link via Dr. Frank; also, don't miss James Bovard's February 2004 cover story on "the sorry record of the Transportation Security Administration."

NEXT: NY Times for Kerry

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  1. A big hanger might have done as well, if lots of kegs, other booze, along with huge blocks of cheese (with crackers, of course) had been provided. Add chairs and such. It’s fine to honor *good work,* after all… But, yeah, that was excessive, for sure. Senator Dorgan knows “a colossal waste of money…” too, when he sees one. He’s even promoted a few. (Psst … he’s up for re-election and doesn’t want to be in the news as one of the 18)

  2. Man, I feel so much safer knowing that another incompetant, bloated government agency is “protecting” me.

    Oh, and James Bovard rules:

    “The attacks of September 11, 2001, changed many things, but they did not make the federal government more competent or effective, and they did not make it more willing to respect the dignity or liberty of its citizens.”

  3. And of course by incompetant I meant incompetent.

  4. security or sinecure?

  5. Where’s Bill Clinton when you need someone to kick around? I’m sure he’s at the bottom of it.

  6. Is there a federal agency out there that better symbolizes everything that’s wrong with the US government than the TSA? It…

    1. Is completely unnecessary
    2. Wastes inordinate sums of taxpayer money
    3. Spends only a fraction of its time accomplishing tasks related to its stated goal
    4. Is wracked by stories of corruption and incompetence
    5. Shows a blatant disregard for the civil liberties of the average American
    6. Justifies its existence by pandering to the fears of the masses

    I think only the DEA even comes close.

  7. But Eric II, how could you overlook the BATF?

    Shirley Knott

  8. You’ll feel much safer when you have nothing left to lose.

  9. Eric-II

    Give the TSA some credit. They managed to accomplish that in only a couple of years. Who says the gov’mnt does move a fast a private industry.

  10. On my way back from the conference last weekend, I flew through an airport where the TSA screeners were all working for a private contractor. I didn’t notice any increase in efficiency or courtesy. I’m not suggesting that we’d be better off if the TSA screeners were outright public employees instead of contractors, but I am convinced that as long as the gov’t is in charge of it we can’t expect great results, regardless of whether the people executing the policy have an ID tag that says “Federal Gov’t” or “Private Contractor”.

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