TSA Screeners Get New Clothes, New Attitude, and…


Reader Russ Dewey points us to this Chicago Tribune story about Transportation Security Administration airport screeners getting new duds, unveiled on today's anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:

The goal is to give screeners a more professional appearance and establish a greater air of authority, in an effort to command respect from travelers….

Near a security checkpoint Thursday morning at O'Hare, Annie Gregg, 23, a transportation security officer from Midlothian who has been working at the TSA for a year, agreed that the uniforms would improve morale, saying they look "a lot sharper" than the old ones.

Screener Robert Jennings, 40, of Streamwood, a 6-year TSA veteran, reflected on his position's importance on the seventh anniversary of the attacks.

"It's part of me helping out my country," Jennings said.

More here.

We all like to get new clothes, but I'd be a lot more interested in hearing that the TSA is actually trying to figure out why its employees suck so hard at their jobs. It was only a month ago that we were treated to stories based on a Government Accountability Office study of TSA screeners:

A government program to find gaps in airport screening is "a waste of money" because it doesn't follow up on why screeners failed to spot guns, knives and bombs on undercover agents, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee says.

A Government Accountability Office report obtained by USA TODAY says Transportation Security Administration inspectors posing as passengers do not record why individual screeners failed to spot weapons. The TSA ran 20,000 covert tests at the USA's 450 commercial airports from 2002 to 2007, and the results ought to be used to improve screening, the report says….

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., plans a hearing next month to press the TSA on making better use of covert tests.

"You have a system that's supposed to strengthen airport security, but you don't use the results of the tests to do exactly what you're doing the tests for," Thompson said. "It's obviously a waste of money."…

An internal TSA report said screeners in Los Angeles and Chicago airports missed fake bombs on agents in more than 60% of tests in 2006.

More here.

Read reason's 2004 cover story, "Dominate. Intimidate. Control.: The sorry record of the Transportation Security Administration."