The Department of Homeland Security, a recent audit reveals, threw away $77 million taxpayer dollars. The bomb-sniffing dogs have been laying down on the job. Their handlers taught them such bad habits that they aren’t “effective” at detecting explosives, either in luggage or on passengers. “The traveling public could be at risk,” the federal report states.
Audit shows bomb-dogs are waste of money
After wasting $77 million to deploy Passenger Screening Canine teams around our nation’s airports, it turns out they aren’t very good at finding explosives. “As a result,” the audit report reveals, “our Nation’s aviation system and the traveling public could be at risk of a catastrophic event caused by an undetected explosive device.”
The Transportation Security Administration hasn’t exactly been winning awards for efficiency. Just this January, Tara Houska was abused by TSA agents at the Minneapolis – St. Paul International airport. Things got a little “weird” when “The agent pulled Houska’s braids behind her shoulders, laughed and said ‘giddyup!’ — while snapping her hair like horse’s reins.” Not to mention all the tasteless comments prompted by the backscatter X-ray machines, reports of groping, even rummaging through luggage to steal things.
The dogs themselves are really not to blame for the way their handlers are botching their use. The DHS Inspector General’s office details both instances of failure to train them properly and failure to use them properly. It seems that TSA managers are “more focused on moving checkpoint lines,” than they are on finding explosives.
No training updates
As spelled out by the audit, the TSA hasn’t “updated” any of their canine training aids “in many years” to make sure they can find the new formulas of explosives. They are breaking the law by ignoring it. “Federal law requires TSA to periodically review threats to aviation, with particular focus on explosive materials presenting the most significant threats to passenger aircraft.”
There simply isn’t any way the dogs can find something if they don’t know what it smells like. The “aids” smell like the explosives they are supposed to find. “We confirmed through our analysis that TSA’s PSC teams may not detect…” and the rest of the sentence is blacked out. Obviously so some terrorist doesn’t know he can bring it through. The report continues, “Specifically, TSA was training its canine teams to detect 13 explosives and 2 components of explosive devices, but not…” more magic marker.
The whole reason the TSA was created was to prevent another 9/11 catastrophe. It seems we can’t even train our “four-legged agents” to properly do their job. Agency officials even admit they know their training is out of date.
Failing the field tests
When undercover agents from the Office of Inspection’s Special Operations Division did some field tests, “canines did not always detect explosive training aids during actual screening at airports.”
The bottom line is that even when trained properly they aren’t always around where they are needed the most. The TSA “does not properly justify and document allocation decisions.” They don’t keep any performance records and can’t prove they’ve ever really done anything.
The old movie that showed a little old lady being thrown against the wall and frisked while a guerrilla unit walks through with assault weapons isn’t far from the truth. The audit report recommends canceling the program. That way the “millions spent” can be redirected to “other security programs and activities to better protect the aviation system.”