Orlando Airport Moves to Ditch TSA Staff
Rep. Mica urges airports to hire private contractors instead
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2010 4:52 AM CST
A TSA official checks passengers entering a security checkpoint.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(Newser) – Air security staffers aren't getting a lot of love lately, and Orlando's airport now wants to get rid of as many TSA workers as it can. The Florida airport has applied to replace TSA screeners with private contractors. An airport spokeswoman tells Aol News the action is in response to consumer complaints about TSA staff: The move would give the airport greater oversight of the operations, she said. Security procedures would stay the same if the request is granted and some TSA staff would remain as supervisors.

As complaints about TSA scans and pat-downs surge, Rep. John Mica, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, is urging other airports to follow Orlando's lead. "As TSA has grown larger, more impersonal, and administratively top-heavy, I believe it is important that airports across the country consider utilizing the opt-out provision provided by law," he wrote in a letter to 150 airports. Mica, AP notes, has received some hefty campaign contributions from companies that might take the TSA's place. It's uncertain if contractors would reassure consumers who already have privacy concerns about the new "nudie" airport security scans. Click here for more on Orlando's plans.

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
Nov 19, 2010 2:01 PM CST
But wait. They were private contractors until they became federal employees. Wasn't that the argument for making them federal employees so that there would be more accountability? I think we've probably found that they same people that were contractors are not TSA doing the same job (good or bad). If they get rid of TSA and hire contractors, who do they think will get the first jobs? Most likely the laid off TSA workers. What they ended up with is federal workers that is hard to fire.
Nov 19, 2010 11:10 AM CST
Good on them!!! Makes me wanna fly to Orlando to support their airport now!
Nov 19, 2010 8:12 AM CST
As a former business traveler who flew extensively both pre-TSA and post-TSA I can only say that this is a horrible idea. Guess what? The security buffoons who failed to stop 19 dumbasses with box cutters were private contractors. And when the airports switched to the TSA those same contractors could apply for jobs with the TSA. They only needed to pass a simple reading proficiency test, be in the country legally, have a high school diploma or GED and no felony criminal record. 80% of them couldn't meet these requirements. While I found them to be somewhat of a nuisance the TSA did their jobs proficiently and professionally. My experiences with the former private contractors found them to be less than impressive. Basically, they were a bunch of Taco Bell rejects I wouldn't hire to clean up dog poop from my yard.