Representative John L. Mica (R-Fla.) in recent weeks has been leading a push to take airport security screenings out of the hands of the Federal government to free up the industry for private contractors.
Mica, who was instrumental in setting up the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has made no secret of the hatred he has gained for the agency in recent years. He says it has become an out-of-control assault on privacy. Last March, speaking against the use of full-body scanners in security screenings, Mica disavowed the “little bastard child” he helped to create, according to ABC News.
A report he recently issued along with Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, calls for moving “airport screening operations to private contractors under Federal supervision,” according to The Washington Post. Mica contends that the shift would further improve airport safety and put an end to many abuses within the TSA.
Mica believes that the United States lags behind other Western countries — many of which already have privatized airport security — because of the government-run TSA. He also said that the current hiring practices of the TSA allow for unqualified individuals to become Transportation Security Officers (TSO) and that TSOs should have no collective bargaining rights such as those granted by President Barack Obama earlier this year.
Opponents to Mica’s proposal say that a privatized TSA would weaken national security and cost the Federal government more money.