At a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing Monday, Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI) blasted the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) for being both costly and ineffective.
Republicans have charged that the TSA has arguably wasted more than $1 billion on recently-deployed ineffective technology in its attempt to secure airports and aircraft from terrorist threats.
Petri told the committee that the greatest advance in safety was the hardening of the door to the pilot's cabin to prevent terrorists from gaining access to the controls. This was accomplished shortly after the 9-11 attacks, he noted.
About the security measures following that, the Subcommittee Chairman was less confident.
"It seems to me that there are a lot of more strategic and intelligent ways to go about it than spending hundreds of millions of dollars impeding the growth of the transportation sector - the aviation sector - and basically changing the psychology of Americans to have them starting to feel that they have done something wrong and they are being subjected to pat downs and shakedowns as we do when we are worrying about someone who has committed a crime," Petri said. "We are assuming everyone's guilty and treating them practically like prisoners when they are American taxpaying citizens."
"I feel that we have got a lot to do to straighten this whole mess out. It's not a cost-effective or very disciplined approach. And after 10 years we owe more to the American people," he said.