Happy Memorial Day From the TSA

parody TSA logo

Hey, with all the Memorial Day travel in which some of you are about to engage, this seems like the right time to remind you that those three-hour lines you’ll be standing in at the airport are UTTERLY POINTLESS.

But let’s direct the criticism at the people who are really to blame, namely, you.

Where it starts is actually a volume issue,” said Mr. Rasicot, [the guy at the TSA who is blaming you for this]. “It’s really a good-news story. The economy is doing well, Americans are traveling more, and this equates with record numbers at our checkpoints.”

Yep, that’s where it starts is. It’s a volume issue, actually, and by “volume” he means you and your traveling flesh and/or belongings. Because you’re doing well (according to him) and insist on traveling from place to place, you equate with too much volume at their checkpoints. It’s a good-news story, really.

Except, bad news, this does not equate with the necessary volume of TSA workers at those checkpoints. Why is that? Have they stopped advertising on pizza boxes? Oh, probably. But the other thing is that they cut back on workers partly because they were sure everybody (except terrorists, because that’d be cheating) would sign up for PreCheck, so they went ahead and cut staff because budgets are tight, you know.

Although there is room in the budget for executive bonuses, apparently, because the TSA’s assistant administrator for security operations got paid more than $90k just in bonuses during a 13-month period, according to the Associated Press. During which time, the AP also points out, the TSA’s security operations were failing roughly 95 percent of the time. Ninety-five percent! How does that bonus program work? Do you get $19,000 for each percentage point less than 100 you fail? Where do I sign up? I succeed much more than five percent of the time, most of the time.

He is now the former assistant administrator for security operations, at least, but unless he’s now working as a screener, it seems doubtful things will improve one bit. Actually, never mind about hiring him as a screener.

Another part of the good-news story is this: At an oversight hearing on May 12, three former TSA employees testified that they received what the agency apparently calls “directed reassignments,” a horrible bureaucratic term for changing somebody’s job assignment if he or she has “highlighted wrongdoing within the administration.” Translation: whistleblowers end up directedly reassigned to some hellhole. Which is understandable. With a bonus program that good, you don’t want anybody screwing it up.

Anyway, while I expect your Memorial Day travel experience to be hellish, I hope it isn’t. Have a good weekend, if at all possible.