Federal Gov’t Says TSA Misconduct Has Made Big Jump In Last 3 Years
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new report on the Transportation Security Administration has found that employee misconduct, including theft and other infractions, has increased by more than 20 percent in the last three years.
The report by the Government Accountability Office said the TSA investigated about 9,600 cases of employee misconduct from 2010 through 2012.
About 3,100 of those cases were about leaving work early without permission or excessive tardiness, according to the report.
Around 1,900 cases were related to security and screening, including sleeping on the job and letting friends and family go through checkpoints unscreened.
In one incident, an employee helped a family member bypass a security check on their carry-on bag completely, according to the report.
The bag was later found to contain “numerous prohibited items” and the employee was suspended for seven days, according to the report.
The report also identified more than 50 thefts by screeners.
Just last year, former TSA employees Persad Coumar and Davon Webb pleaded guilty to stealing $40,000 from a checked bag at John F. Kennedy Airport.
In 2011, Al Raimi pleaded guilty to stealing tens of thousands from travelers at a checkpoint at Newark Airport.
“After 9/11, they ramped up the Department of Homeland Security so quickly it became the third largest federal agency in the United States,” said CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. ”You have 50,000 TSA officers, they’re screening over 1.8 million passengers a day at 450 airports. But, where’s the oversight to review their behavior? And, most importantly, where is the tracking once they do corrective action or they do some punishment?”
David Boehm, chief operating officer of Security USA, said Americans should be concerned with this report.
“What the TSA needs to do is really start performing or doing more integrity tests on all of their officers at all different points of entry to the airports,” he said.
“Walk to a checkpoint with about $20,000 cash in a bag and see if any of that currency is taken out during the screening process,” Boehm told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer.
The union representing the screeners maintains a majority of them still do a good job and have keep air travelers safe in aftermath of 9/11.
“It’s worked. They have a 100 percent track record of preventing additional terrorist attacks,” said David Borer of the American Federation of Government Employers.
Still, travelers told CBS 2′s Kramer they are worried.
“It is a little concerning, particularlyy the part where the sleeping on the job and things,” said George Zorrilla of Hillsdale, N.J.
In response to the GAO report, the TSA said: “There is zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace and TSA takes appropriate action when substantiated, including anything from a referral to law enforcement or termination of employment.”
The report also said the TSA has taken steps to help manage the process of investigating and adjudicating employee misconduct.
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