Would the TSA Be Better Off Armed?

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Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Rep. John Mica (R-FL) and Anthony Roman, president of Roman & Associates, discuss possible changes to the TSA with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)


What is your reaction to the union coming out and saying they would like to be armed so that they could deal with a situation like this?

First of all, these are baggage and passenger screeners, they are not sworn personnel.

Again, we have in each jurisdiction law enforcement working with airports or airport security and local police over the jurisdiction provide security at the airport.

So, they are two separate functions.

We might want to look at, again, i think a restructuring of tsa.

We have now grown the screening force from 16,500 -- mind you, that was 9/11, to 51,000 screeners, and another 15,000 tsa bureaucrats.

I think there is enough room within the number of people that we have to look at having different assignments and may taking some of those resources and protecting the security checkpoint.

Los angeles, though, is kind of interesting, i think it has the biggest police force at the air force -- at the airport of any of our major airports.

We already have as a result an incident with a shooting at the counter some time ago.

I got to tell you, i do not know how good i feel about the idea of tsa agents being armed with guns.

My fear would be that you might have an all-out gunfight in the middle of an airport, with many innocent bystanders affected by.

That is an absolutely real fear.

Too many guns can be far worse than not enough guns.

It is not their proper role.

Their proper role, the congressman is on point with this, their proper role is proper screening, baggage, cargo personnel.

Should the government be the one responsible for that?

Or should it be private industry contracted by the government?

Both models exist globally, both can be very effective or wholly ineffective.

It really falls to management and government oversight of whichever organization is charged.

Representative, i know you are pushing for privatization.

You would like to see private companies in charge of all of this.

That is not entirely true.

When i helped to set up tsa we had two models.

We started out with five airports and a private screening under federal supervision, but what was lacking on 9/11 was the government's failure to put a standard in place with any order for any kind of tsa type operations.

What we have now, we have 17 airports and several thousand tsa workers who work under private contract, as do most countries.

The toughest areas are real and they use private screening under federal supervision.

Israel does that?

Israel, yes.

In fact i went to both israel and the u.k. this year.

Very few of their screeners have uniforms.

We just spent $50 million to put these blue uniforms on the badges.

They are not sworn law enforcement officers.

I am wondering if that makes them more visible to the public as opposed to the models i have just seen this year, where very few of them actually have uniforms and are identified as government or tsa screening personnel.

What is the solution here?

How do we provide more efficient screening?

Tsa is only one of the possibilities we have.

On the current side it is mostly security theater.

They screen the luggage and go through what comes, but many more weapons have passed through the system.

They have missed many explosive devices, many weapons.

It is a management and training issue.

They can be effective.

The model of israel and london is ineffective in comparison.

Thank you so much, representative, anthony as well, good to have you here.

I was interviewing richard

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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