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What can the TSA do that airport police cannot?

To the editor: It is highly disturbing and unacceptable that Transportation Security Administration agents failed to detect 95% of firearms and explosives concealed by operatives in tests. ("Red Team agents use disguises, ingenuity to expose TSA vulnerabilities," June 2)

Worse, the TSA director was reassigned rather than removed from government employment. The solution, of course, is to remove the costly bureaucracy and layers of useless administration impeding Homeland Security and the TSA. Surely, there is no place for bloated, over-reaching incompetency, abuse of authority or dereliction of duty from those responsible for our national security.

In terms of the TSA, it should be replaced by airport security divisions of local law enforcement — such as the airport police covering Los Angeles airports — which could be extended to passenger screening and complete security at airports. Our security demands it.

Daniel B. Jeffs, Apple Valley

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To the editor: The Real ID Act was born after 9/11. Some of the hijackers had multiple driver's licenses. The act passed in 2005 but has not yet been fully implemented.

Only driver's licenses that meet certain criteria can be used as identification to board an aircraft. Currently, licenses granted to those in the country illegally cannot meet Real ID standards. The process to obtain a license does not guarantee the applicant's identity. California fingerprints applicants but never runs them against a database of potential criminals or terrorists who may be on the no-fly list. Illinois and other states do not even fingerprint applicants.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has the authority to deny use of these licenses for boarding purposes. However, in his infinite wisdom he has "cleared them" for boarding.

So 95% of bombs can make it on planes and 100% of noncompliant government IDs can be used to board. What could possibly go wrong?

Don Rosenberg, Westlake Village

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To the editor: My first experience with the TSA occurred during a cruise ship stop in New York. Returning to the ship, I had my ship's ID badge; when I tried to board, the TSA man there asked for further identification, so I showed him my driver's license.

He refused to let me on, demanding a government-issued ID with the name "Bill" on it, which is impossible. Eventually, a colleague informed him that "Bill" was a nickname for "William," and I could board the ship.

My latest experience was at Portland International Airport. A sign before the TSA line said men born before 1938 need not remove their belt or shoes. Born in 1933, I showed the first TSA agent my license and he waved me through. The second TSA agent, not knowing his own rules, stopped me and demanded I remove my belt and shoes.

When I demurred, this bully made me remove both, as well as everything in my pockets, including a pocket handkerchief, just to show me he had the power to do so. I've now stopped flying because of all the hassle.

In 1957, as a 24-year-old officer serving under President Eisenhower, I was entrusted with a top security clearance for an important and responsible job. Now, according to the TSA, I'm automatically deemed to be a suspicious, handkerchief-carrying threat to my country's security

William A. Koelsch, San Diego

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