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Entries in John Mica (2)

Wednesday
Mar302011

Rep. John Mica Calls TSA His 'Little Bastard Child'

Blog dot TSA dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. John Mica, the Florida Republican who helped set up the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after 9/11 but has made no secret of his hatred for it, on Wednesday called the agency "the little bastard child I created."

He said the agency is out of control, has far too many screeners and highly paid bureaucrats. Mica said, "The bad news is I created them after 9/11, the good news is I am now chairman and I will get them." Mica said, as he has before, that he would like to turn over screening to private companies under TSA supervision.

Mica, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, made his remarks during an unvarnished luncheon speech Wednesday before the Aero Club of Washington, D.C.

He also said he won't go through a full-body scanner at an airport because "I don't want them circulating pictures of my beautiful body" all over. He said he opts for a patdown, and just "closes his eyes and imagines a beautiful female."

More substantively, Mica said classified briefings he has been given show the failure rate of the body imagers to find potentially dangerous objects going through airport security is totally unacceptable.

TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee told ABC News, "We see every day that it is very effective. While there is no silver bullet, we feel like it's the best technology to detect the kind of threat we saw on Christmas Day. It is part of a layered security approach."

Mica said terrorists are looking to everything from body cavities to surgical implants as places to smuggle explosives on planes. "These guys are always one step ahead of us," he said.

Mica also took on the FAA and air traffic controllers. He talked about the controller at Washington's Reagan National Airport who apparently nodded off on the night shift and said, "If you can't stay awake until midnight, something is wrong with you."

After the incident, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood ordered a second controller on the night shift at National.

"The answer isn't just more staffing," Mica said. "If I don't have planes coming in, how many people do I need awake?"

Mica said there are plenty of air traffic controllers, that their number has increased even as the number of flights has dropped. "The answer isn't just more staffing. They have plenty of staff, it's just putting them where they need to be."

He summed up, "That's my little take on people who are asleep at the switch."

Copyright 2011 ABC News´╗┐

Tuesday
Jan252011

TSA 'Not Capable' of Detecting Moscow-Like Attack, Critics Say

Photo Courtesy - Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A $212-million federal program designed to spot suspected terrorists at American airports is "not capable of detecting what took place in Moscow," according to the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. John Mica of Florida.

The program, called SPOT, was created in 2006 by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and now has more than 3,000 "Behavior Detection" officers at 161 airports.  The officers receive four days of classroom instruction on how to spot certain unusual behaviors.

But the Government Accountability Office says the TSA has relied on unproven behavioral science and Congressional critics say the program has done nothing to deal with the actual vulnerabilities of airport security.

"I see the classified results and it gives me great concern, I saw what happened [in Moscow] and I have even more concern," Rep. Mica told ABC News Tuesday.

The suicide bomb attack at the Moscow airport highlighted a physical vulnerability long recognized by both security officials and terrorists.

"Every airport in the world, including every airport in the United States, has virtually no security until you get to the security checkpoint," said Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant and former White House counter-terrorism official.

"Very large parts of all airports are inherently insecure," Clarke added.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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