TSA Drug-Running Scandal Betrays Drug War’s Pretense
The Cost of Bribing US Border and Airport Security Personnel Is Chump Change in the Narco-Trafficking Business
Bill Conroy - May 13, 2012
In late April, four current and former Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) employees at Los Angeles International Airport were arrested on charges of allowing a total of some 190 pounds of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, with an estimated street value approaching $1.8 million, to pass through airport security scanners in five separate “pass-through” incidents.
In exchange for this corrupt service, the TSA employees involved in the alleged conspiracy were paid as little as $1,200 per pass-through — $600 upfront and the balance handed off (in an airport bathroom in one case) after the illegal drugs had made it past the scanning station with their assistance.
The fact that a small group of U.S. government security employees would be caught assisting narco-traffickers is not particularly surprising — and should not be viewed as an indictment of all TSA employees.
But what is shocking is the small amount of money it took to bribe a select few in light of the reality that it only takes a handful of corrupt security employees at an airport, or a border crossing point, to assure the passage of millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs — and hundreds of millions of dollars in banned narcotics if extrapolated nationwide.
This revelation is even more troubling when put into the context of the pretense of the war on drugs and the vast sums of money squandered and lives ruined, or ended, due to US government policies in the pursuit of that “war.” Equally troubling is the reaction of this nation’s bureaucratic leadership to this rank-and-file corruption, a reaction that typically involves throwing more money at the problem and seeking to implement knee-jerk policies that don’t address the underlying corruption — and, in fact, are likely only to create new problems.
Tags: Drug War