Jillian Bandes

TSA defended its use of Rosetta, saying that the training was necessary for the agency to carry out its mission.

“TSA employees nationwide requested the training program in order to better communicate with members of the traveling public that may have difficulty communicating in English, thereby enhancing TSA's commitment to provide security that maintains the dignity of all passengers,” said Sarah Horowitz, in TSA’s public affairs office.

Rumpel had similar sentiments, claiming that there was intrinsic value of having language instruction be a part of government operations. His company’s software provided the best option for a nation in dire need of greater language proficiency.

“The program works, the users in general give tremendous feedback, and it is something that can be used…during the workday, or after-hours,” said Rumpel. “We spent a lot of time with the government corporations on why a program like Rosetta stone actually has a much greater return on investment on many things done to date.”

He also took a potshot at the way TSA had run the program.

“We don’t pretend to know how TSA runs their business day in and day out,” he said. “Their might be another focus areas, or initiative – a new chemical they have to investigate… there are a number of things they must prioritize.”

Program costs for private Rosetta purchasers can run between $540 and $1,000 for a full-length program; Rumpel insisted that steep discounts for the government were due to the high volume of licenses sold, and Rosetta’s sensitivity to areas of need such as educational institutions and government workers. Steep discounts were not given, he said, to entice government purchasers into thinking they were getting a deal.

Rumpel also pointed out that the benefits of even limited Rosetta Stone use could be worth the cost. If an employee shows an aptitude for languages, then more advanced, costly instruction could be given to him or her, without taking a risk on a pricey brick-and-mortar course at the very beginning.

Jillian Bandes

Jillian Bandes is the National Political Reporter for Townhall.com