This Doesn’t Exactly Make Me Feel Safe

On Tuesday, The Daily Caller posted an article about an incident at the Detroit Airport in November 2018.

The article reports:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials prevented a Chinese national from sneaking undeclared biological materials into the United States in late 2018, roughly one year before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

An unnamed Chinese biologist carrying suspected vials of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) arrived at the Detroit Metro Airport in November 2018, according to an FBI tactical intelligence report obtained by Yahoo News.

The individual arrived at the airport carrying vials labeled “Antibodies” in his luggage, the report stated. When questioned by authorities, he claimed that a colleague in China requested the vials be delivered to a researcher at a U.S. institute.

However, upon further inspection by CBP, officials made a startling discovery.

“Inspection of the writing on the vials and the stated recipient led inspection personnel to believe the materials contained within the vials may be viable Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) materials,” read a portion of the FBI’s unclassified report obtained by Yahoo News.

The report was made by the Chemical and Biological Intelligence Unit of the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD). While it does not provide the identity of the Chinese biologist, or the intended recipient of the dangerous vials he was carrying, the report did conclude that the incident exposed a security risk for Americans.

The article notes that this was not an isolated incident and that the FBI report mentions two other incidents involving Chinese nationals entering America with what are essentially biological weapons.

It is to President Trump’s credit that while saying nice things about China in public, his actions paint a very different picture. I believe all Americans need to be skeptical of the Chinese as our friends. I also think that the Chinese government would pretty much do anything to replace President Trump with a President that would go back to the old standard of letting China enjoy a very unequal playing field in the area of trade.

The Government Just Doesn’t Do Things Better

If you are planning an airline trip to your summer destination this summer, be prepared for long lines at the security screening checkpoint at the airport. Budget cuts are blamed for the increased time, but that is not actually the case.

The thing to remember when you hear anyone in Washington talk about a budget cut is that they are not talking about an actual budget cut. The mentality in Washington is very similar to the wife who comes home from the shopping mall with multiple bags of goodies and says to her husband, “See how much money I saved you today?” She never mentions how much money she would have saved if she had avoided the shopping mall to begin with. Washington uses baseline budgeting. This totally distorts what is actually happening with spending. If Agency A spends $100 this year, it is assumed that they will need more money next year. So Agency A asks for $125 this year (a 25 percent increase in its budget). Congress reviews the request and only gives them $110. Agency A then reports that it has cut its spending 15 percent. Only in Washington is a 10 percent increase considered a 15 percent cut. The bottom line–never believe anyone in Washington who talks about spending cuts.

Meanwhile, back to the TSA. Investors.com posted an article today about the cause of the delays.

The article reports:

Blame for this disaster is said to be tight budgets and staff cutbacks at the TSA.  As The New York Times put it: “A combination of fewer Transportation Security Administration screeners, tighter budgets, new checkpoint procedures and growing numbers of passengers is already creating a mess at airports around the country.”

That is always the excuse whenever a government agency fails to its job. In this case, it’s simply not true. At $7.3 billion this year, TSA’s budget is 9% higher than it was in 2007. Its full-time workforce climbed by 4.3% over those years, according to official budget documents. (The TSA conveniently measures its current budget and staffing against the peak produced by President Obama’s massive stimulus spending.)

More important is the fact that the TSA’s gains since 2007 came at a time of declining air travel. Over those same years, the number of passengers traveling from major U.S. airports dropped 7%, and the number of commercial flights fell more than 22%, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Plus, the TSA has fewer airports to manage than it once did, since 22 — including San Francisco International, Kansas City International — have ditched the TSA and hired private security firms to do their passenger screening.

The TSA is another illustration of the fact that the private sector does everything better than the government.

The article further reports:

The Transportation Dept. ran tests early last year, and found that for all the hassle they impose on passengers, TSA agents failed to detect illicit material 95% of the time. When the inspection agency followed up later in the year, it discovered that little had changed. In fact, part of the reason for the agonizing delays at airports today is that the TSA has dramatically slowed down the screening process in a ham-handed attempt to improve reliability.

In 2010, a documentary film entitled, “Please Remove Your Shoes” was released. It is available on Amazon. I strongly recommend buying it and watching it. The TSA has not made us safer–they have created an illusion of safety that has nothing to do with reality. It is time to remove the TSA and replace them with private security. That will not only save taxpayers money–it will keep us all safer.