Senate panel gives green light on airline security fee hike

Move said to help TSA budget problems


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: You don’t like those airport pat-downs? Then you are really not going to like this. Senate Democrats moving forward with a plan to make passengers pay more for them.

They say the extra money is needed to plug Transportation Security Administration’s budget gap. The hike will double the fee for passengers taking nonstop flights.

A major airline group slamming today that move, saying lawmakers should work on ridding the TSA of waste.

Security expert Bo Dietl thoroughly agrees.

Do you want to privatize the TSA? Because it’s government-run right now.

BO DIETL, CHAIRMAN & CEO, BEAU DIETL AND ASSOCIATES: Well, all I can say is, we certainly can privatize it. And you can get more bang for your buck.

I mean, I have been saying it from the beginning. I see what they did. After 9/11, they stuffed the TSA with ex-security guards, anyone they could fill in there, you could bring in the military people coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq, bring those young men and women over there. They will be happy to have the job. Did you ever go through the TSA watch?

VARNEY: Frequently.

DIETL: Overabundance -- overabundance of people doing nothing.

You could cut it in half, give them -- get professional people in there, and do the job a lot better than what we’re getting.

VARNEY: You know, not too long ago on this program, we ran a story of $184 million worth of equipment sitting in a warehouse, I believe, doing absolutely nothing, unused. It was security screening equipment. That is a picture of it, I believe.

DIETL: Yes, that is another side of it, Stuart. You got a guy called Chertoff that sits on the board of this company with this new thing that shows all your body parts, it puffs. It is a new -- its screening thing where you walk through, you put your hands up.

That machine there can’t detect explosives. They have technology that they -- instead of just making contracts like that, and throwing these things out there, get the best of bri -- technology. You have got technology that can break down and you can see the components of explosive in there.

So use a double whammy on it. So you are looking for explosives, plus you’re looking for something on the body too. But let’s get back to the TSA, very unprofessional from the beginning. They "stuffitated" them in there and that is what we got.

VARNEY: They "stuffitated" them in?

DIETL: Pushed them in there, yes.

VARNEY: Pushed them in. Thank you very much, indeed.


VARNEY: I don’t think you are right. Unprofessional? No. I have been through those security screens many, many times. I don’t find them unprofessional.

And you are trying to tell me that that you bring back a vet from Afghanistan or Iraq, a young Marine, for example, and he is going to do a nice pat-down? You think?

DIETL: I’m telling you, you have people there that are professional. You have a lot of law enforcement gentleman and ladies that I run into.

And I see them there and they say, hi, Bo, but I’m talking about there’s a lot them over there that are not as efficient as they should be. You should categorize them and you should rate their performance like at any other job. And if they are not doing their job properly, get rid of them.

VARNEY: You were a New York City detective, right?


VARNEY: Are you giving us an honest assessment?


DIETL: I will tell you something else. I will tell you something else.

The New York City Police Department out there, they have, what, 40,000?

VARNEY: Right.

DIETL: Pay them more money. Make them more professional. You can use 20,000 and give them, make them professionals, the way...


VARNEY: You don’t think the TSA right now is a professional organization?

DIETL: I don’t think that it is as professional as they can be. And I think by using military...


VARNEY: If they were privatized, you think they would be more professional? Cheaper?

DIETL: I will take it on -- I will take it on tomorrow as a privatized security...


VARNEY: Remember, nobody has gotten on board a plane in America, I don’t think, with a bomb since 9/11. I don’t think they have.

DIETL: But you have got to remember how many bombs that actually went on to those planes, how many were there? We don’t know because nothing has happened.

But the CIA and our intelligence group have averted a lot of these problems before they happened. They are not going to come and break into a cockpit anymore. We’re all up on that stuff. But I am talking about professionalize the TSA more; give more for your buck. I don’t mind paying an extra $5, $10 for my ticket, but give me something professional.

VARNEY: All right, Bo Dietl, we hear you. We always hear you.

DIETL: Stuart, you got to hear me, Stuart.

VARNEY: I always do.

Bo Dietl, thank you very much, indeed.

DIETL: Thank you very much.

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