Mica: TSA IG report shows shortcomings in TSA procedures

A new Inspector General report found shortcomings in the Transportation Security Administration’s procedures, standards and oversight, leading to unscreened baggage making its way onto airplanes at Honolulu International Airport in 2010, a congressman said this week.

U.S. Reps. John Mica, R-Fla., and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, requested the IG “review to determine why a portion of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) screener workforce at
Honolulu International Airport did not perform critical transportation security screening of baggage,” according to the report.

“Unfortunately, the Inspector General’s report further confirms what we’ve already witnessed through TSA security meltdowns at other airports in Newark, Charlotte, Fort Myers and elsewhere,” Mica said in a news release.

“This report and one TSA fiasco after another have demonstrated that this isn’t the problem of a few bad apples,” Mica added. “There are system-wide problems with this massive bureaucracy. In this case, the IG identified deficiencies in how TSA develops and implements changes to screening procedures, a lack of clarity in supervisory responsibilities and insufficient training, and a failure to deploy screening equipment where it was needed, even though that equipment was collecting dust in a warehouse.”

According to the IG report:

Although ignoring security procedures is never justified, Transportation Security Officers at one location in Honolulu International Airport did not screen all checked baggage as required during the last few months of 2010. The responsibility for screening the baggage belongs to the individual Transportation Security Officers, but this situation might not have occurred if TSA —

  • Developed changes in screening procedures comprehensively and then thoroughly evaluated the effects of such changes;
  • Supervisors provided better oversight of Transportation Security Officers and baggage screening operations; and
  • Provided screening operations at the affected location with adequate staff and screening equipment in a timely manner.

Without ensuring that baggage is screened as appropriate, TSA risks the safety of the traveling public by allowing unscreened baggage on passenger aircraft.

Added Mica: “Although the IG rightly states that screening failures by individuals cannot be excused, the problem at Honolulu was not simply a dereliction of duty by a handful of TSA employees. This agency continues to fail its employees and the American public by devoting itself to managing a bloated 65,000-person workforce rather than focusing on providing the best transportation security standards and strong oversight for more efficient, more cost-effective private screeners. TSA is an agency crying out for reform.”

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