Back in 2001, the United States Senate was equally divided between 50 GOP Senators and 50 Democrat Senators. This lead to a historic power sharing arrangement between the two parties that had Democrat Senator Tom Daschle acting as co-majority leader. During this time, the Democrat Party pushed to fold all airport screeners into becoming federal workers via the Transportation Security Act. The initiative succeeded. At the time, Sen. Daschle announced that as a result of the law, the airport screeners were now professionals. According to Ivan Ong, detractors claimed that making people federal employees had no bearing on their being professional.
It appears that the detractors were right after all. A recent test by the Office of the Inspector General (IG) at the Department of Homeland Security randomly attempted to smuggle illegal weapons, bombs, and other substances through airport security terminals. In total, 70 such tests were conducted across the country. In all but three cases, the IG was able to get the items past airport screeners. In fact, the results were so bad that Melvin Carraway, Acting Director for the TSA, has been relieved of his duties and assigned elsewhere. Needless to say, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has jumped on the report and expects to see immediate reforms. Rep. Chaffetz has been after the Secret Service for similar lapses and poor training. Back in 2007, the TSA had a high failure rate detecting illegal items at security terminals. Congress reacted by spending over half-a-billion dollars on new equipment. Despite the investment, the failure rate has become worse.