Third-party background checks + TSA = big trouble?

SecurityTheaterPrivate security firms are licking their chops over a potentially high-dollar government contract to conduct background checks on thousands of frequent fliers.

Our friends at Politico report The Chertoff Group and Clear are jostling for the privilege of prescreening America’s air travelers.

The TSA is said to be exploring the idea of putting a third party in charge of conducting background checks on passengers who apply for the agency’s expedited-screening program, known as PreCheck.

Chertoff, of course, has made millions by exploiting the paranoid fears of American taxpayers. Clear, too, has been complicit in creating a “papers please” state.

But the average air travelers may see this as nothing more than free enterprise in action — a potential public-private venture that will help keep the skies safer.

That would be a mistake.

First, we know how careless third parties can be with your personal information. In 2008, a laptop containing 33,000 names and other personal information from a pre-check program was lost in San Francisco. It was later recovered,  but no one appears to have been disciplined after the breach.

But an expansion of PreCheck raises even bigger questions. While you may support the current administration and its policies, giving the federal government and a third party your personal information means that any administration that comes afterwards, and indeed, any contractor the government chooses to do business with, will potentially have access to your personal data.

Do you really want that? Didn’t think so.

  • nveric

    When people tire of this they will stop complaining and think about action.

  • Jill_Ion

    No American should have to submit to a background check to get on an airplane.

  • What kills me–what continues to kill me–is the way these “contractors” (i.e. The Chertoff Group, *gag*) continue to use the DHS/TSA as a big old ATM. Those are OUR tax dollars, funneled into their (offshore) bank accounts, with the wheels of the whole operation generously greased by the ginned-up fear of an easily-duped populace.

    • TSAisTerrorism

      Oh, Deborah, you old stick in the mud!

      Don’t you want to feel saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe?!?!?!? Baa!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      These good Americans are Just!Doing!Their!Jobs!

      Oh, I just threw up a little in my mouth.

  • RonBonner

    TSA should use these third party background checks to root out the thieves, perverts, and other criminals infesting TSA.

    Of course airport screenings would come to a screeching halt with no TSA employees left after having real background checks done.

    • And, the TSA should remove the “PreCheck” status immediately from its own employees, who undergo no or little security screening when on the job.

      The TSA employees have stolen more from passengers, committed more ‘security breaches’, and conducted smuggling and other operations that would easily allow unchecked baggage with real threats into airports.

      In short, the 675 million passengers are much safer than the 50,000 or so GeTSApo employees.

      • Hal

        Who watches the watchers? The wolves are guarding the chicken house. 🙁 What a sad state we have allowed air travel to get to.