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10/15/2004

Transportation Safety Administration Waste

The US Northern Command in Colorado issued a "warning order" sometime this week over "concerns that terrorists might try to disrupt the Nov. 2 election." The Florida National Guard is preparing to call up a "couple of hundred" Guardsmen to protect Florida airports.

One would think the Transportation Security Administration would have been preparing for this, considering that Republicans have been warning about terrorist intentions to disrupt the elections for months. Instead, it was spending half a million dollars on a party and giving exorbitant bonuses to senior managers.

According to a new report from the TSA Inspector General, leaked to AP:

The government agency in charge of airport security spent nearly a half-million dollars on an awards ceremony at a lavish hotel, including $81,000 for plaques and $500 for cheese displays, according to an internal report obtained by The Associated Press.
The spending on the party really was exorbitant:
The reception included finger food, coffee and cake that averaged $33 per person. Seven cakes cost a total of $1,850; three cheese displays, $1,500.
According to Bloomberg:
The agency paid $64 per gallon of coffee, $3.75 per soft drink serving, $1,486 for three balloon arches and $1,850 for seven sheet cakes, the report said. A singer of the national anthem was paid $75 and a "lifetime achievement" award was given to an employee retiring from the two-year-old agency.
The executive bonuses were equally egregious, though the TSA at least issued an anemic response.

Considering that baggage screeners at Newark missed 1 out of 4 fake bombs hidden in carryon bags, baggage screeners in Houston weren't checking all the bags (the TSA was covering it up), and the TSA is still riddled with problems, that money could have been netter spent.

Update, 7:28 AM EST: They might also want to reconsider retaliating against whistleblowers.

 

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