The TSA Is Still Very Bad At Its Job, According to a Secret Probe

Nov 9, 2017

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When you start a security agency, you’d assume it’s supposed to provide security, right? According to a new a study, the TSA has once again failed to do its job properly, after a report that said the same thing in July.

An undercover probe found that the TSA failed to detect test weapons at a high rate. The investigation had undercover agents smuggling mock knives, guns and explosives through multiple TSA-operated airport security checkpoints. The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General conducted the tests, which a source told CBS News showed a failure rate of “more than 70 percent,” while ABC News reported that the failure rate was “in the ballpark” of 80 percent.

Even then, a 70 to 80 percent failure rate is surprisingly an improvement for the TSA. That report released in July said that the TSA was unsuccessful in uncovering a whopping 94% of threats in tests at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP). A 2015 Homeland Security Report found that undercover agents were able to smuggle fake weapons and contraband past TSA screeners 95% of the time.

In a public hearing Wednesday after a classified meeting with the Department of Homeland Security, Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the findings were “quite frankly…disturbing.”

Representative Mike Rogers told TSA administrator David Pekoske that “This agency that you run is broken badly, and it needs your attention.” Lawmakers called for the complete rollout of new 3D scanning equipment that can better detect items in bags. ABC News says the machines are currently being tested in at least two airports.

“We take the OIG’s findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.

These revelations may seem quite scary, but it doesn’t mean the TSA isn’t letting everything illegal through. 2016 was a record year for the TSA, with the highest number of passengers screened and guns confiscated ever — 3,391 guns were seized from carry-on bags.

Featured image by Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG/Getty Images.

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