Part of the problem is that TSA
and dates that it had to carry out specific functions were mandated by Congress with no specific reasoning.
The thinking was that federal employees would do a better job than screeners employed by security companies. Why? I'm a lawyer, and the security people that conduct screening of visitors going into the federal buildings in downtown Chicago aren't deputy U.S. Marshalls. They are employees of a private company that is hired and supervised by the U.S. Marhshall's Office in Chicago. A lot of them are former police officers, MPs, or other law enforcement agents, and a number of them carry firearms.
Granted, in Chicago, besides terrorism, security is designed to keep prisoners from escaping and members of gangs and organized crime from turning courtrooms into shooting galleries. But if the U.S. Marshall feels comfortable with non-federal personnel keeping buildings secure, maybe aviation security can be handled in a similar fashion.
I don't blame TSA
for all of its problems, although it comes up with some goofy ideas. Congress gets a lot of the blame.
After Pan Am 103 blew up, the British government decided to upgrade aviation security. It took 4 years to get to a level that officials felt was good, and another 2 to 3 years to get to a level that officials felt could truly thwart almost any attempt to carry out a terror or other criminal act. That's 6 to 7 years of planning, testing, and refining policies and systems.
Congress wanted this done in 15 months, because it wanted to minimize the risk of another attack. If that's the case, Congress should have thought about this back in the late 80s or early 90s.