Only government employees would claim that an oppressive security regime — which requires pat downs, advanced body scanners, and easily circumvented restrictions on liquids — in order to keep terrorists at bay should be ecstatic about seeing 800 security lapses per year. For 56,000 employees, that works out to roughly 1.5%. (I’m hoping not many were given the opportunity to become repeat offenders.)
That was the finding from a Government Accountability Office report published this week, and reported in The Wall Street Journal and CNN.com, but the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 45,000 of the 56,000 TSA employees, had this to say:
The American Federation of Government Employees … swung back at criticisms of TSA employees, saying the GAO report instead shows the work force is relatively problem-free.
Roughly 800 cases of security-related misconduct a year in a workforce of 56,000 “is A-plus anywhere else, any way you cut it,” said David Borer, the union’s general counsel. “The reality is the numbers are tiny, and the folks on Capitol Hill are trying to say the numbers are huge.”
Maybe the numbers are tiny in both an absolute and relative sense, but they have huge implication because the TSA is the one crying about the impending danger that someone, at any moment, is going to blow this country to smithereens. Until now it hasn’t been about the numbers or probability. (You stand a greater chance of dying during your daily commute to work.) It’s been their argument that only one person needs to slip through their net for disaster to strike. But apparently their job isn’t so critical anymore.
There are only 365 days a year, so 800 security lapses is roughly 2.2 per day. Fortunately terrorists have been even lazier. If I knew that there were 2.2 security lapses every day and were up to no good, I’d see that as opportunity. But to the TSA, that’s the sign of a hard day’s work! Next time a TSA agent yells at you in the security line, just tell them it’s okay, take a break! You’ll volunteer to be one of their security lapses for the day.