Appearing on CBS This Morning on Friday, former TSA administrator Kip Hawley claimed he would like to see the agency completely overhauled and refocused on risk-based security measures, instead of the uniform searches and security theater it has become so well known for.
"I think that would take a lot of the tension out of the checkpoint and reduce the disconnect you saw yesterday [at a Congressional hearing on the TSA]," he said.
Current TSA officials faced a grilling by the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Thursday over the apparent disconnect between what the agency says happens routinely at its checkpoints and what air passengers report in official complaints.
Hawley, author of the book "Permanent Emergency," said he believes the agency could be more efficient by focusing on "the truly big threats." In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, he suggested that Americans would be safer if security stopped arbitrarily banning items and instead became more randomized and unpredictable.
"To be effective, airport security needs to embrace flexibility and risk management—principles that it is difficult for both the bureaucracy and the public to accept," he wrote. "The public wants the airport experience to be predictable, hassle-free and airtight and for it to keep us 100% safe. But 100% safety is unattainable. Embracing a bit of risk could reduce the hassle of today's airport experience while making us safer at the same time."
Hawley was appointed TSA chief by President George W. Bush in 2005. He served until President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
This video is from CBS This Morning, broadcast Friday, June 8, 2012.
Photo: Screenshot via CBS This Morning.