I arrived at the Los Angeles Airport more than an hour early. I had made good time on the highway. I wasn’t checking any bags, so with my boarding pass in hand I proceeded to the gate. I was greeted with a security line that was almost an hour long. The line snaked around the terminal, out the door, and stretched down the sidewalk. At the front of the line sat a lone Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) officer studiously checking identification with a jeweler’s loupe, the small magnifying glass jewelers use to look for flaws in gemstones.
It is little wonder that polls consistently find that the TSA is the most hated U.S. government agency, even more despised than the Internal Revenue Service. Americans believe that the TSA is rude, invasive, obnoxious, and dull-witted. Sure, there are good, honest, hard-working folks employed with the TSA; I have met some of them. However, I tend to share the negative assessment that airport security is not firing on all cylinders.