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After an internal TSA operation where undercover agents were able to successfully smuggle fake explosives and weapons through 67 out of 70 TSA security checkpoints around the country, it’s painfully clear that airport security methods need a serious revision. In the meantime, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has reassigned TSA’s acting administrator, Melvin Carraway, to a different position in the department, and acting Deputy Director Mark Hatfield has been given control until a new administrator is selected.
The operation extended to dozens of US airports, wherein several weapons and other illegal items were smuggled through security. One undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm, but even after giving him a pat-down, TSA agents were unsuccessful in detecting a fake explosive device taped to his back. Both human error and technology vulnerabilities seem to account for the failures, despite the fact that $540 million has been spent on screening equipment and $11 million on training in the past six years.
In response to the situation, which Jeh Johnson says he is taking “very seriously,” the TSA has been instructed to immediately complete the following:
- Immediate revision of the screening procedures
- New training for all transportation security officers and intensive training for all supervisors
- Re-testing and re-evaluation of the screening equipment used
- Continued enactment of random testing
Meanwhile, Johnson has asked the Senate to confirm President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the TSA, Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, the present Vice Commandant of the US Coast Guard.
How many of you TPG readers have ever gotten through security and realized you still had that bottle of water or Swiss Army knife in your pocket? Conversely, how many times have you been stopped and searched for what seems like no reason at all? What do you think about TSA’s new findings and security revision?
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