Published: Thu, November 09, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

TSA Fails 80 Percent of Homeland Security Tests

TSA Fails 80 Percent of Homeland Security Tests

Undercover inspections conducted by the Department of Homeland Security uncovered a slew of "vulnerabilities" at the security checkpoints of multiple airports across the country, according to ABC News.

The Transportation Security Administration fails an overwhelming amount of undercover tests, with screening checkpoints unable to stop potentially deadly materials from making it onto planes around 80 percent of the time. But at least airport security is improving, slightly.

Lawmakers are still concerned at the high rate of failure.

The report on covert testing by the Office of Inspector General was delivered Tuesday, Nov. 7, in a classified briefing before the House Committee on Homeland Security.

It's unclear exactly how often workers failed to spot the weapons because the number was revealed in closed session. When we asked if the new failure rate was 80%, a source familiar with the classified report said, "you are in the ballpark".

McCaul called America's aviation sector the "crown jewel of terrorist targets" and said, "America's enemies only have to be right once, while we have to be right 100 percent".

The agency is asking for more money to roll out new cat scan type of screeners to better check carry-on bag for weapons. New equipment available would create 3D images of luggage to help screeners spot unsafe items, but it's only in use at two airports so far.

The devices have been used for checked bags but not checkpoints because they were too large and heavy for checkpoints until recently, Pekoske said.

While the TSA catches scores of people with weapons - notably former Trump White House adviser Sebastian Gorka a year ago at Reagan National Airport - the inspector general's report in 2015 said that operatives from the office penetrated airport security in about 95 percent of their attempts.

In the public hearing on Capitol Hill this week, members pushed for new scanning equipment, which creates 3D images of bags, which can help TSA identify potentially threatening items. Ranking committee member Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said at the hearing that it "has consistently struggled with low morale across the workforce, ranking 303 out of 305 government agencies in 2016".

"We take the OIG's findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints", said TSA administrator David Pekoske.

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