I found it rather delicious that as over the weekend Congress debated the creepily named “Freedom Act” that we woke up this week to also discover the TSA fails at its mission with a rate of 95%. In other words, if you try and take a handgun through TSA security twenty times, you’ll get away with it nineteen times.
Imagine if another business clocked this level of failure. The airline will let you buy a ticket, but the plane will crash nineteen out of twenty times. Your taxi will only manage to get you to your destination 5% of the time. That blender you bought has a 95% chance of failing before Wednesday.
For the record, we called this nearly a year ago when we referred to the security fetish basically as a bunch of “smoke and mirrors”:
That’s what a 95% failure rate means. It means the TSA is a bunch of smoke and mirrors. It’s the illusion of safety and security. You think you’re safe. The terrorists think flights are secured and can’t be attacked easily. Both are lies.
And yet the TSA employs 56K people. In other words, the TSA has more soldiers than Australia’s entire military, twice as many as Kenya’s, and three times as many as Sweden.
With a budget of about $7.5B, the TSA spends more money on these soldiers each year than otherwise peace loving national militaries such as North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Ukraine, Egypt, and crazy Burma.
So when the NSA (an organization that perhaps employs 40K folks with a budget of about $10B) hacks into your screen, a dark suited man appears, and he points at you and says:
Do you believe him? I don’t.
Ask yourself, is a failure rate of 95% worth letting total strangers feel up your grandparents in a wheelchair? Or to spend four times as much money each year on the TSA and NSA than the government spends cleaning up freaking pollution?
The so called Freedom Act is a whitewash. It does nothing to increase effective public oversight of a bunch of guys and gals who essentially argue nothing more than, “trust us to protect you; while knowing nothing about what we do; while we know everything about what you do; would we lie?”
The Freedom Act does not remove the essential critical fault in play. The current surveillance programs are monitored and held in check by FISA. A secret court, holding secret arguments, issuing secret rulings. What could go wrong? Well, when you read an actual declassified FISA court ruling, the answer is clearly: Everything.
And the Freedom (Tyranny) Act also doesn’t cover any number of dozens of programs authorized to the NSA by other separate Congressional Acts or blanket Executive Orders. In other words, every part of this previous weekend’s Congressional horse trading has been a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
But seeing as how Google already has your DNA on file, and Facebook has determined a list of your eternal desires, then nobody really seems to care that the NSA has the power to know where you are, who you talk to, and what you say. Whenever they want.
Sadly, this is the new normal. It’s not going away. The Patriot / Freedom / Tyranny Act appears eternal. Both parties supported it wholesale. Even though its original purpose is finished, it first appeared fifteen years ago, and was always meant as a temporary measure.
And nobody’s about to downgrade the TSA when there’s a 0.00000045% chance an airliner might be threatened by a dude in Yemen who doesn’t possess access to running water.
So, I guess, sadly, you might as well just get used to it. Somehow. You have no choice.
Except to buy remote land and drop off the grid. Only if the government acquired spy planes, could they monitor you on your own creepy-compound-farm-forest-lands. And so, oh, wait, uh, sigh, …
I have to go now.
more fraudulent than FIFA