If the TSA can't keep weapons off planes, why do they exist?

A passenger on an airline flight brandished a box-cutter and threatened to stab someone on the plane.

No, this is not a reference to the 9/11 hijackers.  This happened on November 11, 2022, on a Frontier Airlines flight from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

The question is how it could have happened.  The TSA was created to protect passengers and crew from events like this.  The agents are notorious for confiscating shampoo, nail-clippers, and other mundane things, but somehow a passenger smuggled a box-cutter on board an airplane.

Passengers had boarded the flight to Tampa around 7:30 P.M. on November 11.  About an hour into the flight, it was diverted and landed in Atlanta after flight attendants discovered that a passenger was armed with a box-cutter and had threatened to stab another passenger.

Law enforcement was waiting at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and took the suspect into custody without incident.  The remaining passengers were deplaned and put in a local hotel for the night until another flight was scheduled for them the following day.

No one was injured.

The suspect had all the proper papers and identification when he approached the TSA checkpoint at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.  According to the TSA statement:

"It was at the physical screening that things went awry for TSA. While they allege that the CT scanner which is supposed to reveal whatever may be hidden inside of luggage was not fully utilized and the box cutters and blades were not discovered.

"Even without the weapon being seen on the CT scan, the TSA operator saw something that did not look right and referred the two backpacks which were carried by the suspect for a physical inspection. It was there that TSA admits what could have been a catastrophic error:

"During the [physical] search, one box cutter was discovered. The visible blades were removed from the box cutter and provided back to the passenger."

Despite failing to do the very thing that the TSA is supposed to do, the agents involved were not fired. They will only be retrained in CT image review and physical search procedures.

What if someone had died?  Would the agents have simply been retrained?  The agents' involvement would have been the same.  Only the outcome would have been different.

"While one would hope that with all of the threats against the United States from enemy states like ISIS, Iran, and the like, the person making this grievous error would at least be terminated if not charged with a crime, it seems the person will only be retrained," Law Enforcement Today reported.

This is not the first time passengers have been able to sneak contraband items past the TSA.  You can find reports throughout the years since the creation of the TSA of passengers who have been allowed to board with items they shouldn't have.

The public need to trust the TSA to protect them.  It is what the agency was created to do and why passengers endure long lines and intrusive searches.  If the TSA agents aren't capable of performing their basic duties, then perhaps another agency with proven skills should be tasked with the job.

Flight security is needed in this day and age, but passengers don't need a false sense of security.  They need to know that dangerous items aren't getting on flights.  Next time, the circumstances might be different, and someone might be injured or killed.  Retraining won't make up for that mistake.

Michael A. Letts is the CEO and founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs. 

CONTACT: Jerry McGlothlin for Michael Letts 919-437-0001 jerry@specialguests.com.

Image: Transportation Security Administration.

If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com