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Is TSA Devious, Or Simply Inept? Experts Weigh In On Airport Gridlock

CHICAGO (CBS) -- How did we get into this mess?

With massive lines and wait times of well over two hours to get through airport security, aviation expert Robert Mack called it "sort of a perfect storm."

Mack believes that an increase in travelers, a decrease in TSA workers, and the fact that the agency wants more money, may have led to this massive gridlock.

Should TSA have been able to predict the gridlock?

Mack said the agency knew traffic was going to increase over the summer.

Did the agency create this scenario to put pressure on politicians to increase funding?

"It's possible," Mack said. "Or they could just be completely inept."

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg leans more towards the inept theory.

"TSA is not adjusting to basic airline schedules and peak passenger flow times," he said.

Greenberg points out the busiest flight times are between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., but TSA does not concentrate enough staff during those peak times.

Eddie Palacious is the president of the local union representing TSA agents at O'Hare and Midway.

He not only attributes the long lines to poor scheduling but says retaining workers is also a problem.

"We can't keep them," Palacious said. "We can't hire enough. We can't train them fast enough. So it's gonna be a while."

Others theorize that TSA has created the chaos to motivate people to pay $85 for the agency expedited "pre-check" program.

The number of people registering for pre-check have nearly doubled, to about 8,300 people a day.

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