The Republican platform is calling for the Transportation Security Administration to be privatized, according to a blog on the Washington Post website.
According to the platform adopted by Republicans this week in Tampa, TSA “procedures — and much of its personnel — need to be changed. It is now a massive bureaucracy of 65,000 employees who seem to be accountable to no one for the way they treat travelers. We call for the private sector to take over airport screening wherever feasible and look toward the development of security systems that can replace the personal violation of frisking.”
That statement drew this retort from Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee:
“Like much of the Republican platform, the provision calling for privatization of the TSA workforce is not based on an understanding of the facts. Private screeners are in place today at 16 airports and enforce the same policies, use the same procedures, and operate the same machines as screeners employed by the Federal government. There is no evidence that the use of screeners who are paid by a private company would improve security or produce a savings for the taxpayer.”
The TSA had no comment on the platform, the blog reports.
Orlando Sanford International Airport recently gained TSA approval to privatize its workforce. Sanford’s screeners remain federal employees as the transition process continues, though the airport’s application was accepted in June, the blog reports.
At that time, Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a proponent of the private operations, said that “transitioning to the private-federal model at Orlando Sanford and other airports will allow TSA to focus on security and not on personnel management, and it will result in better customer service for passengers, improved security services, and more cost-effective security operations. . . . As more airports across the country will be encouraged to opt out, both taxpayers and air travelers will benefit from this cost-effective program.”
The GOP platform calls for developing a more flexible pay system and revising the civil service, the blog says.