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Transportation Security Administration Essay

3155 words - 13 pages

The Transportation Security Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that exercises authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States. The TSA was created as a response to the September 11, 2001, attacks. The organization was charged with developing policies to protect U.S. transportation, especially in airport security and the prevention of aircraft hijacking. With state, local, and regional partners, the TSA oversees security for highways, railroads, buses, mass transit systems, pipelines and ports. However, the bulk of the TSA's efforts are in aviation security. “Most of TSA’s workforce is Transportation Security Officers. About ...view middle of the document...

They need to have a strict security control because it is in the interest of people but at the same time, they need to take care of ethical aspects as well.
An incident took place around six months ago that caused a serious ethical concern for Transportation of Security Administration. A security officer wanted to know about a passenger known as Felipe Mejia as to where he was going and why. He held Mejia's gaze, as well as his boarding pass. He said, 'Who are you to ask me these questions?' recalls the medical company executive, who was waiting at Boston Logan International Airport on his way to Charleston, S.C. “It is none of your business. I do not think you have a right to ask me these things. The man who questioned Mejia was a Transportation Security Administration officer taking part in a new program aimed at identifying suspicious characters as they move through airport security lines. With the inception of this new program, some travelers at Logan's Terminal A have been directed to a separate queue for a brief interview with an officer before they reach the conveyor belts and screening machines. A reporter was permitted to observe these interactions, which usually lasted less than a minute. Some passengers, like Mejia, grew visibly angry at the questions. Others, like Mark Aaron, a logistics manager at Ryder System in Raleigh, N.C., did not seem much bothered by the latest hassle passengers must endure on the way to the gate. He says his conversation with a TSA officer went something like this: “Why were you here? Where are you from? What brought you here?” (Bolkcom, 2003) Over the last decade the TSA has largely focused its efforts on detecting dangerous objects instead of dangerous people, says Kip Hawley, the agency’s director from 2005 to 2009. X-rays and walk-through detectors begat explosive-sniffing machines and naked body scanners as the agency tried to keep up with the latest in shoe bombs and liquid bombs and underwear bombs. Every piece of hardware has vulnerability, Hawley says, “An al-Qaeda terrorist could determine the weakness of the machinery at checkpoints, and if that is all people have, it is not good enough.” (Withington, 2003) The answer said by John S. Pistole, the agency’s current administrator, is that a person can get away from the one-size-fits-all approach. We want to use intelligence in a more tailored fashion, similar to the way Israeli security officers conduct extensive interviews of travelers.” (Wald, 2004) If this program is successful, TSA officers someday will be able to quickly assess travelers and allow those deemed harmless to keep their shoes on and their laptops packed and breeze past the scanners, says George Naccara, TSA’s security director at Logan. (Elias, 2003, 122)
Another recent issue in the national spotlight has been the theft of passenger items from luggage. How is it possible for the American public to trust an organization charged with ensuring their safety onboard an aircraft, when...

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