TSA waste infographic

An infographic from Online Criminal Justice Degree does a great job of laying out the incredible waste, incompetence and invasiveness of the TSA. Click through below for the whole thing.

TSA Waste | Online Criminal Justice Degree (via Techdirt)


  1. I agree with the sentiment here, but I have to say… this is kind of a shit infographic. Lots of big numbers without visually demonstrating what those numbers mean. Now if Randall Munroe had done this…

    1. I agree. I would rather have read it in a paragraph. 

      Infographic’s should follow these guidelines: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/14/the-dos-and-donts-of-infographic-design/

    2. Source site is also a really spammy looking website.  Short on details, long on SEO-friendly keywords.  Kicker:  the #1 on their list of “Top Online Criminal Justice Schools”?  U of Phoenix.

      Wasn’t there a post a while back from Rob refusing to run this kind of advertisement?

      1. The name Onlinecriminaljusticedegree .com certainly raised my eyebrows. And not in a good way. Flashy never trumps credibility.

    3.  http://www.music-piracy.com/?p=667  I got spawned into pontificating on some of the numbers in play.  It was interesting to me.  Might be to you as well.  The Mars Rovers could have been funded with JUST the funding for the AIT scanner debacle. 

      The TSA draws down a yearly budget twice that of NASA.

    1.  Not only yes, but F’ Yes. The _right_ answer is to recognize that the heightened “security”, no matter who is doing it, is a complete waste of money given the actual risk involved, and an exercise in creating and maintaining cultural paranoia for political purposes.

      Security theater. There may be reasonable investments to make in airline security, but these aren’t them. And odds are extremely high that the next terrorist threat won’t be against an airplane. Or from outside forces, for that matter;  I’m expecting another Oklahoma City nutcase encouraged by the same propaganda that justifies the TSA.

  2. Seriously. You read down, going “yes… yes.. where are the numbers? … yes … oh Ron Paul.” The notion that private firms would be “better” in some way was particularly funny after having just found & read “Scroogled” – http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2007-09-17-n72.html  – Strip Search Done Right

  3. I love how it’s apparently logical here to fix stupid ‘security’ by paying a different person to do the same dumb shit, but faster. Go Ron Paul Freedom Liberty Raaah!

  4. “Boondoggle ~ a project that is considered to waste time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations.” ~ Wikipedia

  5. It’s full of visual noise that provide little insight.For example, the 3988 employees in the D.C. headquarters have an average salary of $103,852. That’s $90,304 if you take out the single person who got paid $5.4 million. (Who was it? A Google search finds only that anonymous, unattributed statistic.) I also found “Total compensation for federal workers [in DC], including health care and other benefits, last year averaged $126,369, compared with $122,697 in 2009.”
    This seems to imply that TSA workers at the DC headquarters are being paid less than average for a federal worker in DC, so isn’t that a good number? It’s hard to say from this infographic.
    The timeline towards the bottom is meaningless. Nothing happened in 2007 or 2008, and there was a rush of events in 2011? Not likely! It’s only the things the author wanted to use. Plus, the length of the connectors between the dots doesn’t mean anything. And why isn’t there a connection from 2011 to 2012?
    Then there’s the strange insertion of Ron Paul into the discussion. So what if he raised $250,000 in three days against the TSA? Lady Gaga’s bracelet raised the same amount in the same amount of time for for Japan Relief, and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna did the same for his race. Does that mean that I should send money to Japan, or support McKenna for governor?The claim that we could save $1 billion in hiring private security for the 35 biggest airports is quite suspect. The TSA budget for FY 2011 was roughly $8.1 billion, of which $4,809 million was for ‘aviation security.’ The argument is that private security can reduce the overall price by 20%? By only changing security at 35 of the 450 or so airports with TSA staff? Color me doubtful.BTW, the 36-50th airports serve as many people as the two largest, and my assumption is that an airport like MOT with only 5 commercial flights per day is going to be more expensive per passenger for TSA coverage than SFO. It looks like this is a call to privatize the most profitable airports and leave the government with the expensive ones.

  6. My only complaint about this graphic is that it didn’t actually explain what the letters T.S.A. stand for. 

    Totally Silly Asses?  
    Tight Secure Area? 
    Three Sexy Amoebas?

    Anyway, it seems to be a fairly important piece of information for something calling itself an Information Graphic.

  7. A few things that would have been useful to “show” rather than “tell” using comparative graphics:

    * number employees planned vs. number of persons currently employed (line graph or something fancier could have been good here)
    * number of weapons found per million dollars
    * percentage of airplane ticket price lost to TSA
    * number of TSA agents caught stealing vs. number of people in the general public caught stealing per capita

    Funny that this has mostly turned into a bashfest on the graphic design, but really what can you say about the facts that haven’t already been said. I may live in a bubble but I don’t know anybody who still thinks the TSA is a good idea, and many of the folks I know would be perfectly happy to see the TSA goons join them in line at the unemployment office.

  8. I don’t like it when right wing haters start calling Obama an weakling idiot, but when I read this kind of thing, or how he can’t seem to call off the war on drugs and has the financial industry or medical insurance industry asses covered with gold leaf I really have to wonder if it makes any difference which mainstream political wonk is running the shop. Really, would Ron Paul be so bad or any worse?

  9. um… how is it a bad thing that the tsa finds guns that people aren’t supposed to have in their carry on luggage?  

    1. Short version: we’re no better at finding guns now than before the TSA. We’re spending a lot more money, spending a lot more time in security lines, living with decreased personal dignity and subject to inane and unexplained rules, but with very little benefit.

      If you’re talking specifically about guns, magnetometers are just as effective at finding guns as millimeter or x-ray scanners, so why are we paying for those expensive machines?

  10. Very interesting, but the “Privatize! Ron Paul! Ron Paul! SNORGHT!” crap at the end was a buzzkill. Privatization and the Ron Paul fanboy crap is tired, tired, tired.

    1.  Ron Paul was only mentioned once and that was to demonstrate how much the public wants to get rid of the TSA. There doesn’t seem to be anything there to indicate the infographic is somehow supporting Paul. I’m guessing you have some reason to hate Paul since your post seems to have a more pointed agenda and hyperbolic view than the infographic.

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