In defense of the TSA

On the "man bites dog" front, and in the spirit of fairness, here are two items on behalf of the TSA. Or at least in opposition to some lines of criticism (like this recent one from me).

First: I can't believe that I've learned only now that the TSA has its own chatty blog, which takes up various criticisms, especially from web sites, and gives the TSA's answer. For instance, if you want to know their response to this famed cartoon from, check here.


The wonderful headline on another item at the blog: "Response to 'TSA Agents Took My Son.'"
I won't say that I am tremendously convinced by their rebuttals, but I do (seriously) admire the effort, and the flair. (I learned about the blog via Bob Collins of Minnesota.)

Next, below and after the jump, a reader's message in response to the recent GAO critique of TSA, mentioned here.

"While agreeing with the spirt of your attack on TSA, I'm not sure the jab is well centered. 

"The GAO report is about TSA funding new technology.  Clearly that is a botched job -- the withdrawal of the "puffer" machines is a demonstration that TSA is not good at funding R&D.  But it has nothing to do with TSA screening tactics -- which I agree are not "risk based". And on the larger level, I'm not sure a blanket risk analysis is an effective tool for deciding where to put R&D dollars.
"I could fault TSA for placing too much value on screening passengers rather than looking at airport security and/or baggage security.   They have to keep up the security theatre.   But making TSA less intrusive, stupid and customer friendly would seem to be better strategic guidance than making it analyze "risk."

"For example, what if better baggage screening led to RFID tags that would lead to less lost luggage?  Or TSA screening was better integrated into checkin saving passengers time?
"In terms of risk, I thought this discussion was more helpful,"do-i-have-the-right-to-refuse-this-search"/ which [I found at] Bruce Schneier's blog here."

As always, judge for yourself, especially after checking out the TSA blog.