The Transportation Security Administration’s airport screeners are the first line of defence to ensure that contraband and weapons don’t make it on a plane, but there has been much talk recently about the equipment’s ability to pick up weapons and/or drugs. The TSA is being chided by federal watchdogs and U.S. lawmakers over the “pitiful” ability of its screeners to pick up potentially harmful objects.
Speaking during a House Oversight hearing based on classified reports from federal watchdogs Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) says that looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in covert testing exercises at the nation’s airports it’s pathetic, “when I say that I mean pitiful,” he added, “Just thinking about the breaches there, it’s horrific.”
People were actually able to go through with lethal weapons during these covert exercises, the only reason nothing bad happened was because they were the good guys, now imagine what will happen if someone with nefarious intentions is able to go through a system that has been setup to stop that from happening.
These tests were conducted by auditors from the Inspector General’s Office who posed as travelers. A classified report was leaked over the summer which revealed that 95 percent of contraband including weapons and explosives, went through in the secret tests. Inspector General John Roth briefed the committee that they found layers of security “simply missing,” and that failures were noticed in technology, TSA procedures and plain old simple human error.
New TSA administrator Peter Neffenger has told the committee that the agency is going through a “full system review,” and that it’s retraining screeners and even considering to use dogs in order to search passengers and reduce the possibility of contraband and weapons slipping on to airplanes.