Washington Free Beacon reporter Elizabeth Harrington discussed how wasteful allocation of funds by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has resulted in inefficiency in airports, not due to lack of money.
TSA has recently claimed that its long lines and inefficiency are due to lack of money in its budget.
In her piece, she explains the multiple outlets where TSA has funneled significant amounts of money that had nothing to do with increasing security.
- $53,234 to a public relations contrat for news clippings and media monitoring
- $1,790 for a subscription to Politico Pro.
- $196,461 on furniture from Federal Prison Industries, Inc., including contracts for a conference room and new furniture for the Los Angeles International airport.
- $31,589 for men’s instructor uniforms from VF Imagewear, Inc., which also promises to help "your brand image."
- $8,600 for badges for personnel in Honolulu, Hawaii
- $14,790 for a "digital virtual assistant" in a airport in Florida
When asked by Fox News America's Newsroom co-anchor Martha MacCallum if this was surprising, Harrington said it was not. She discussed how when things go wrong in the government, they normally claim it's due to lack of funding.
"Well, it is not really surprising," she said. "I cover a lot of government waste and really the first thing when something goes wrong with the government they always say, ‘Oh, well, we need more money.’ That is what the TSA said. In this case, if you just take a look in the last month, what they have been spending money on, it was easy to find $2 million on stuff that is not related to security at all and largely spending to try to make their brand better.
"If you look at $1.7 million to this company Sage Communications, which has already received funding from the TSA, they were responsible for the pre-check advertisements, which TSA promised there were going to be 25 million Americans enrolled in pre-check. Only 9 million Americans have been enrolled in it. So, their advertising campaign didn't really work and now they are giving them $1.7 million more.
"On top of that, they're giving $50,000 to a digital media company that worked on the Obama 2012 reelection campaign for PR. So, you see lots of spending that's trying to make the TSA image better, when really if they just fix the problems their image would be a lot better."
MacCallum followed up by asking how much heat the TSA is feeling and if other airports will feel market forces and go their own way.
Harrington said that this was one of the reasons they were funneling so much money in PR. She continues to point out that there has never been a case in which the TSA has ever caught a terrorist, or unearthed and stopped a terrorist plot. She cited an advertisement by the TSA in which it looks like a person is in Paris, and leisurely walks through a very short line, despite this is not the actual depiction of what happens in airports.
"These advertisements, spending $1.7 million trying to present them in that way certainly is not going help," she said.