Investigators Continue to Uncover Lapses in Airport Screening Process
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If U.S. airport security is improving, it appears to be doing so at a snail-like pace.
Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth described the results of recent undercover testing at various airport checkpoints across the country as both "disappointing and troubling," the Washington Times reported.
"We found layers of security simply missing," Roth told a Senate committee Tuesday in wake of the department's latest classified inspection.
Investigators attributed screeners' failure to recognize potential security threats to not only human error, but technology and Transportation Security Administration procedures.
The tests were conducted at eight different airports, but the locations as well as details regarding the results remain classified.
While TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, who was appointed to the new role this past summer, has confirmed the agency has stopped sending unvetted air travelers through the TSA PreCheck screening line as of Sept. 12, he pointed out the need to shift the agency's main focus from achieving speed and efficiency to ensuring security effectiveness.
At Tuesday's committee hearing, Neffenger told government officials that the agency's latest training efforts have already had an impact.
"The day you set a security system and say 'I got it right' is the day you begin to lose its effectiveness," Neffenger told committee members via the Times, adding that he and the TSA are currently working on a process designed to maintain high security standards and examining other techniques aimed at improving the flow of air travelers through checkpoints in a way that doesn't jeopardize safety.
The DHS's efforts to increase effectiveness come on the heels of a shocking failure rate revealed in June, when undercover agents were able to sneak mock explosives and other banned items past screeners in 67 out of 70 attempts.
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