What the TSA does best

Gene Healy, a columnist for the Washington Examiner recently wrote about TSA’s specialty: hassling. Healy makes a couple of cogent points that, while familiar, weave together very nicely. That the TSA specializes in harassing innocent travelers isn’t news. Healy notes, however, that apparently President Obama is tired of opposition — can’t we all just act like Seal Team 6? As the president put it in his State of the Union address, “all that mattered that day was the mission.”

Well and good, except that Seal Team 6’s mission, which freed the aid workers in Africa, was well-defined and finite. Such missions end, and in short order. How Mr. Obama translates that into the TSA’s mission escapes me.

Healy goes on to observe:

The safety we enjoy owes very little to TSA’s competence and a great deal to our adversary’s incompetence. Terrorism expert and Cato Institute senior fellow John Mueller notes “the rather impressive inability of the terrorists [in post-9/11 cases] to create and set off a bomb.”

Those of us who have delved into the science of risk assessment understand this reality — the small chance of a terrorist attack in this country, especially when compared to other, far more likely risks. But when you juxtapose this reality against the ever-increasing encroachment of the TSA, into all aspects of travel — even cars — you start to wonder what it is exactly around which the President wants us to coalesce. After all, he announced that “For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated.”

We have a significant lessening of threat coupled with a significant increase in police-state tactics.  So Mr. President, can you explain what it is you want us to accept without question? What is this Seal-Team 6-like mission we need to support?

Warrantless, suspicion-less, and intrusive searches that will at best merely continue, and at worst become more frequent? For no reason except to burn through a gigantic and growing “Homeland Security” budget?

Okay. I get it.