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Is the TSA security theater or essential to national security?

A TSA Officer watches people go through the security checkpoint at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.
A TSA Officer watches people go through the security checkpoint at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

Those younger than 20 have likely never been able to board a plane in the U.S. without first removing shoes and belts. Or casually show up at the airport a couple of minutes before boarding a flight. 

That’s down to one federal agency: the Transportation Security Administration. 

The Senate recently confirmed TSA administrator David Pekoske for a second term. His reappointmentcomes as the Transportation Security Administration marks its 21styear in existence, having been created just two months after 9/11.

It’s two decades in operation haven’t always been smooth sailing. The TSA has one of the highest turnover rates of any federal agency with one in five new hires quitting in their first six months. Public complaints about the agency are also high. Long lines, liquid limits, and random pat-downs plague many travelers.  

We sit down to assess our nation’s aviation security. Is the TSA accomplishing what it was created to do? Or is it all just security theater? 

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Michelle Harven