Rep. Mica's Push To Privatize Airport Security Would Benefit Campaign Contributors

January 04, 2011 2:28 pm ET — Walid Zafar

Rep. John Mica (R-FL), the incoming chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has his eyes set on dismantling the Transportation Security Administration. Seizing on public uproar over body scanners, Mica has stepped up his campaign to put private companies — such as those located in his district and those who have given to his campaign — in charge of managing security operations at some of the nation's busiest airports.

The Washington Post reports:

"If you look at [the TSA's] performance, have they ever stopped a terrorist? Anyone can get through,'' Mica said in an interview. ''We've been very lucky, very fortunate. TSA should focus on its mission: setting up the protocol, adapting to the changing threats, and gathering intelligence."

Mica's reasoning is flawed from the start. First, the TSA has stopped terrorists. Second, in terms of performance, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office, there seems to be little difference between the TSA and private screeners. And lastly, according to another study commissioned by TSA, private firms cost slightly more than the TSA.

To be sure, many travelers are unhappy with the TSA; they feel that their privacy is being violated and they demand change. But if the TSA's job is nothing more than setting up protocol, as Mica contends, private companies would have to follow the same federal rules and regulations that have travelers upset at the TSA in the first place and little would change. In short, Mica's proposal is no less costly, no better in terms of performance and will keep the same rules that anger so many flyers.

[h/t: AmericaBlog]