Just in time for the summer travel season, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is failing undercover tests that are critical to our safety.
A little over a week ago, a report was released by the Department of Homeland Security in which they detailed the internal investigation conducted by something called “red teams,” and involved said teams going in to perform undercover security tests on TSA employees.
The TSA was found to have failed 67 out of 70 tests. Yes, you read that correctly; the TSA failed 95.7% of these tests (just wanted to emphasize that statistic and the word failed).
Some of these tests included concealed weapons and fake explosives. The report also led Melvin Carraway, the former TSA Administrator, to leave the job after being there since January 2015, according to the Washington Post.
Most of us 20somethings don’t really remember all that well what it was like to live in a pre-9/11 security era. Following the September 11th attacks, then president George W. Bush signed into law the Transportation Security Administration in November 2001. Prior to that, private companies were hired by either the individual airline or airport to conduct screenings.
Since the TSA has begun their efforts to curtail any further attacks on the United States via airline travel, they have come under some serious scrutiny for incidents such as workers falling asleep, the controversial full body scanners, and sexually harassing or inappropriately screening passengers.
New post-9/11 rules such as the 3-1-1 liquid rule, taking off the shoes, and removing laptops from bags have always frustrated, and will continue to frustrate, airport customers. However, there are some disguised reinforcements in the air with new security measures on cockpit doors and armed air marshals flying on planes.
Although it’s nice to have reinforcements, the question needs to be raised as to why they’re failing tests on the ground and how can they improve. With the TSA being the first line of defense at the airport, there needs to be better screening procedures, more supervision and better training with new employees, in addition to more tests like these to make sure they stay on top of their game.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that the TSA is now launching a separate investigation into where this now “leaked” information came from. AKA the government was attempting to hide this from us, as if this comes as a surprise.
Information like this, as much as it will cause travelers to be a little bit more anxious when flying, needs to be released to the public if only to emphasize the severity of the situation. Moral of the story: the TSA needs to get it together, and fast.