TSA Screening procedure
Almost 30 TSA employees at a single airport have been fired for failing to adequately screen for dangerous materials. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The Transportation Security Administration has had some victories, but the agency is coming to be known for its failures. The TSA recently fired 28 employees for failing to properly screen baggage at the Honolulu airport.

TSA employees rushed screening

The Transportation Security Administration is again embroiled in scandal as the TSA has fired 28 employees from the Honolulu International Airport, according to MSNBC.

The events that led to the massive firing occurred months ago, when an internal probe revealed baggage screeners at Honolulu weren’t properly screening baggage for explosives and other dangerous items. The TSA was tipped off in December and began investigating.

Lengthy process precedes firings

In March, Hawaiian television station KITV4, an ABC affiliate, reported the TSA was beginning disciplinary proceedings. In June, the agency announced 36 employees had been put on administrative leave, pending disciplinary hearings. The TSA proceedings concluded Friday, Sept. 16. Of those 36 employees, 28 were fired. Two resigned, one retired and six people were suspended. A further 12 people were also placed on suspension.

Thousands of bags unscreened

According to CNN, the TSA is mandated to screen every checked bag for signs of explosives or other dangerous materials. The probe found that during the last four months of 2010, thousands of bags were going un-checked on routine flights out of Honolulu International.

The National Treasury Employees Union, a union representing some TSA workers, said screeners are under pressure to keep flights on time, according to MSNBC. The NTEU has been saying, according to the Daily Mail, that employees don’t have the manpower or machinery available to complete a thorough screen within time constraints.

Not the first security gaffe

The underwear bomber of 2009, according to NPR, wasn’t discovered by TSA screeners, which led to the wildly unpopular TSA patdowns. In June of this year, a man was able to fly cross-country before it was discovered his boarding pass was expired.

In 2007, according to the Los Angeles Times, undercover federal investigators were able to sneak liquid bomb components past screeners in 19 airports during security tests. In those tests, 75 percent of bombs were able to get past screeners at Los Angeles International. According to Investors Business Daily, 60 percent of bomb components got past screeners at O’Hare International in Chicago in those same tests.

Ignominious victories

The Transportation Security Administration does have victories. Here are a few from the past month:

The TSA caught a man smuggling snakes and turtles at Miami International, according to CBS.

Robert Paulson, a JetBlue pilot, was caught with a fully loaded pistol in his luggage, according to the Daily Mail.

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, TSA screeners caught a man smuggling methamphetamine in potato chip bags, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.

According to the Park City Record, the TSA has found 50 million prohibited items, including more than 4,600 firearms, since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Sources

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44557230/ns/travel/#.TneMrWWP-_0

KITV 4: http://www.kitv.com/r/29215357/detail.html

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/18/travel/tsa-screeners/?hpt=tr_c2

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2038881/Security-failure-Dozens-TSA-workers-fired-bags-unchecked-Honolulu-Airport.html

NPR: http://www.npr.org/2011/09/10/140339262/with-tsa-are-we-safer-or-sorry

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-trw-screeners15nov15,0,6348990.story?page=1

Investors Business Daily: http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=584702

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/30/ap/strange/main20099148.shtml

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2038062/Pilot-Robert-Paulson-caught-PISTOL-luggage-TSA-agent-tried-board-flight.html

ICE: http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1109/110916losangeles.htm

Park City Record: http://www.parkrecord.com/ci_18862557

 

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