Congressional Report Says TSA Misconduct Threatens Safety of Air Travelers
PHOTO: TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger. (Photo courtesy of Miltary.com)
Security lines are a hassle most fliers believe to be a necessary evil, but a pattern of misconduct on the part of the Transportation Security Administration may actually be threatening the safety of air travelers and making those hassles less effective.
Following a six-month investigation, a report completed by the House Homeland Security Committee admits that some changes have been made by administrator Peter Neffenger, but calls the organization a “bloated bureaucracy” and takes it to task over failing to punish or rein in “corrupt” and “insolent” airport screeners, claiming that misconduct on the part of the TSA rose 29 percent between 2013 and 2015.
More troubling yet, the report says that disciplinary actions and investigations into misconduct on the part of the TSA have actually decreased during that same time period, revealing that not only is the institution failing to police itself, but that it may be purposefully fostering the bad behavior.
This report on TSA misconduct comes less than a year since the House Homeland Security Committee reported that the United States is in the “highest threat environment since 9/11,” via The Washington Post.
How does that misconduct effect travelers?
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Last year, it was reported that undercover operatives made it through airport security with weapons and fake bombs more than 95 percent of the time and were able to carry weapons or bomb-like material through checkpoints in 67 of 70 attempts last year.
The report identified several areas in which the TSA could shore up their handling of misconduct, chief of which would be putting a top-level executive in charge of the process and taking care of systemic retaliatory issues dealt with by whistleblowers from their superiors.
Recent testimony from three TSA executives-turned-whistleblowers alleged that top TSA officials actually encouraged disciplinary forced transfers, inflated bonus payments to those who kept matters quiet and outright ignored massive concerns in security matters, preferring to sweep matters under the proverbial rug.
Neffenger has attempted to stymie some of these issues and has cut back top-level executive bonuses as well as stopped forced relocations, but his cleaning up of the mess from previous administrators may not be having the immediate impact House investigators would like.
In testimony before the committee, via The Washington Times, Neffenger highlighted ongoing efforts to strengthen the agency’s effectiveness, including hiring initiatives, automation, enhanced deployment of canine teams and redefining how they focus on busy times and airports with the most traffic.
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