Saturday, November 27, 2010

CBP vs TSA Airport Security

by Ronnie Spangler

With the current uproar over airport security maybe its time the government reconsiders who should be in charge of airport security. Customs and Border Protection agents have been providing security for our ports of entry for decades. Since the inception of Homeland Security and TSA, the CBP have been responsible for most if not all of the captures and seizures of terrorist, drugs, explosives, or other contraband entering and leaving the USA across our borders or through our airports.

Both CBP and Border Patrol (BP) agents go through rigorous federal law enforcement training at the CBP academy. Depending on the position, Customs Officers vs Border Patrol Agents, training can take either 73 days or 95 days. After completion of training at the academy they must undergo a year of on the job training and are on probation for 2 years. Compare this to TSA Screener position training that consist of 56-72 hours of classroom training and 112-128 hours of on-the-job training. Who do you think is more qualified to provide security at our nations airports?

CBP and Border Patrol agents are Federal Law Enforcement agents with all of the powers and responsibilities of federal law enforcement officers. They are trained in dealing with the public and interviewing persons constantly vigilant for terrorist, criminals, or people wishing to do harm to our country whether entering or leaving the USA. They have become proficient in detecting people with false documents and by simple observation of people entering secure areas can eliminate a potentially threat. They also have the best K9 training center in the country. A well trained handler and his canine can detect explosives, drugs, currency and other contraband better than any technology on today's market. These K9 units do not have to come in direct contact with individuals and are far less intrusive than the current pat downs and full body scanners used by the TSA.

If you consider that most of the threats to US airlines are coming from overseas it makes no sense to punish American air travelers that are simply flying from Memphis to Salt Lake City or other locations within the US. Not one threat from a terrorist carrying a bomb has originated in the United States and the ones that did get on a US carrier were not detected by TSA agents either here or at the airport they departed from. No foreign airports uses measures that our TSA Screeners are required to use. No Mideast airport will allow full body scanners or intrusive pat downs. Instead they still rely on metal detectors and hand held wands. If a person is successful in boarding a plane from another country with an explosive device, the odds of detecting that person in the US is greatly reduced.

Everyone knows we have flaws in our Homeland Security, maybe its time we re-examine the structure of TSA and CBP to be more effective and less costly to the American taxpayer.

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