Wait lines at TSA airport security checks are getting longer and longer, and the frustration of travelers is getting more and more intense. As lawmakers grapple with potential fixes to shorten the lines, some are advocating simply privatizing airport screening and getting the government out of it.
The idea isn't a new one. Indeed, before the attacks of September 11, the U.S. also used private screeners. In the wake of those devastating attacks, however, the U.S. transitioned to a government-run system.
The government-run airport screening has been under increasing fire for years. Critics point to an internal investigation from last year that reported that undercover agents were able to sneak mock explosives or banned weapons through security checkpoints 95 percent of the time. Additionally, since 2001, the TSA has suffered more than 25,000 security breaches where passengers were able either to gain access to restricted areas of an airport or get items on board without proper examination.
Defenders of the TSA say the issue isn't government-control of the process, but a lack of funding that has led to staff layoffs, which they say explains the TSA's current struggles.
Conservatives are some of the most vocal supporters of potentially privatizing airport security screening, but even some Democrats are now advocating at least looking at partially privatizing the process.