If you’ve ever suggested that the abusive, sexually perverted TSA has to go or that airlines should pay for their own security as do other industries rather than relying on taxpayers, you’ve probably heard a retort similar to this: “Are you crazy? That’s what got us where we are today! The airlines’ll cut corners like they did on 9/11.”
But airlines weren’t cutting corners on 9/11. They couldn’t: they didn’t handle their own security then any more than they do now. In charge of it were the same Feds who currently mistake 7-year-old girls with cerebral palsy for terrorists – even if the bureaucrats identified themselves with a different acronym.
In fact, airlines haven’t managed their security since the 1960’s. Hijacking became something of a fad during that decade, with flights “in the United States and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere … flown to Cuba by either homesick Cubans or politically motivated leftists,” as the Encyclopedia Britannica puts it.
That provided all the excuse politicians and bureaucrats needed to interfere. The Federal Aviation Administration’s website tells us that in 1968, “specially trained FAA safety inspectors (‘sky marshals’) had begun boarding … flights on a random, unannounced basis.” These “specially trained…inspectors” seem to have been as incompetent as their current counterparts at the TSA, two of whom have slaughtered a passenger while others “took taxpayer-paid trips to visit families and vacation spots…” or were “photographed … asleep on a flight, carrying a loaded pistol…” So it’s no surprise when the FAA admits that “hijackings continued.” The usual vicious circle played itself out, with the government’s ineptitude furnishing more excuses for it to meddle further – though it clearly had no idea how to protect aviation.
But even as the Feds pretended they not only could but actually were securing the skies, they rendered flights more vulnerable than ever. Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 transformed private companies into “public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce” and barred them from “discriminating.” The devil resides not only in details but in definitions: the Feds described “discrimination” as refusing to do business for any reason a bureaucrat disapproved (for example, the government currently requires discrimination against Iranians though, in a switch from its previous policy, not black Americans). Ironically, while the Act prohibited airlines from denying transport to those they deemed threatening, the Feds developed a “profile system” in 1969 that would allegedly identify hijackers and keep them off planes. Ergo, airlines that exercised judgment and common sense would pay steep fines if the government didn’t shut them down entirely; only those that mindlessly obeyed the Feds would operate without hassle.
Newsflash: the “profile system” didn’t work. Ever notice that nothing government proposes does what it’s supposed to, paving the way for it to control us ever more stringently? Checkpoints followed this failure of the government’s discrimination in 1973 as the political chokehold on aviation tightened.
The FAA’s bureaucrats continued to pile on regulations with each passing year. By 2001, virtually no aspect of aviation or its security was free of the agency’s absurd and heavy hand. Regulations governed when passengers must sit and when they could move about the cabin; how many hours pilots could fly; what routes and destinations airlines served; and exactly how screeners were to wand passengers at checkpoints, what items they could and could not confiscate from customers, and even what questions patrons must answer (“Did you pack your bags yourself?”).
On that fateful morning in September, “private” screeners ushered Islamic terrorists through their checkpoints and onto planes (providing we accept the government’s explanation of 9/11). But the FAA minutely mandated every move those screeners made. To all intents and purposes, “private” screeners were as much public employees as the TSA’s gropers are, even if a company rather than Uncle Sam signed their paychecks. Blaming them instead of the FAA for 9/11 is like blaming the secretary for the boss’s letter.
But don’t take my word for it. The FAA itself admitted its culpability, albeit unwittingly. Its “Strategic Plan” of 2001 bragged, “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) consists of nearly 50,000 people dedicated to improving the safety, security, and efficiency of aviation and commercial space transportation in a way that protects the environment and national security.”
There’s also testimony from Bogdan Dzakovic, an expert in protecting aviation. Bogdan holds an MS in “Security Administration” from Northeastern University; he joined the FAA in 1987 and eventually became leader of a “Red Team” – “an adversary team designed to challenge friendly forces and give them an opportunity to find out how a potential enemy operates,” as he explains. He quickly understood the menace of decades of the federal stranglehold on aviation’s security: “As early as 1998 I became sufficiently concerned about the probability of a 9-11 style attack that after exhausting all efforts to improve security by working through my established chain of command, and getting nowhere, I sent a report directly to the Administrator of FAA attempting to convince her of the dangerous culture of mismanagement within the Security Division of FAA and that this country… ‘…faces a potential tidal wave of terrorist attacks…’. The Administrator didn’t even have the courtesy to respond to my letter but I also sent a copy to the Secretary of Transportation. The Secretary copied me on a letter he sent back to the Administrator stating that she ought to look into my allegations, but there was no follow-up and she continued operating with her head stuck in the sand.”
You might think, then, that 9/11 would have sounded the alarm, that Congress would have abolished the FAA and ceded all things aeronautical to the airlines. Instead, it awarded the incompetent failures who guaranteed 9/11’s success with their very own bureaucracy.
Albert Einstein said “insanity” is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Allowing government, whose criminality and ineptitude murdered 3000 people one dark day, to “protect” American aviation is about as insane as it gets.
July 6, 2012
Becky Akers (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) is a free-lance writer and historian. Her novel on the American Revolution will be published this summer.
Copyright © 2012 by Americans for Travel Freedom. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.