When Congress set up the Transportation Security Administration, it gave the brass what amounted to a blank check in personnel issues: hiring, firing, promotions, assignments and work tours.
This made sense in the rush to tighten airport security following the 4 hijackings of September 11, 2001.
It also made sense to many politicians to have sworn, trained federal workers -- rather than so-called rent-a-cop operations -- handle airport security.
There have been no U.S. hijackings since then.
But . . .
Times, people, attitudes and anxiety levels have changed. Many who were relieved at the thorough -- sometimes random -- airport searches are now irritated by them. Many TSA staffers believe they have been pushed around by bosses asking them to serve unreasonable shifts, moved around without regard to their health or personal safety and have been generally given a hard time.
Both the National Treasury Employees Union and the American Federation of Government Employees have been on the TSA's case. And they've been lobbying Congress to reign in TSA. Apparently it has worked.
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