Congressman: Reports of widespread TSA incompetence may be the ‘tip of the iceberg’
A Florida Republican congressman and frequent critic of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) told CNN that a recent federal report showing a drastic increase misconduct complaints against airport security officials may not go far enough.
“There’s not even a way to properly report some of the offenses,” Rep. John Mica (R-FL) said to CNN. “This may be just the tip of the iceberg of some of the offenses.”
CNN reported on Wednesday that the report by the Government Accountability Office found complaints against TSA officials went up by 26 percent between 2010 and 2012, including more than 1,900 reports of employees sleeping on the job and 56 reports of theft by TSA employees. The report collected just over 9,600 complaints over the course of the three-year period.
The GAO also corroborated Mica’s statement in the report, saying in a statement accompanying the report that the TSA does not have a way to verify whether individual staff is acting with the agency’s policies.
“Without a review process, it is difficult to determine the extent to which deficiencies, if any, exist in the adjudications process,” the GAO’s statement read. “Further, TSA does not record all misconduct case outcomes, including cases that resulted in corrective action or no penalty, in its Integrated Database (TSA’s centralized case management system) because the agency has not issued guidance requiring the recording of all outcomes.”
The report also said nearly half of the employees cited received a letter reprimanding them for their actions, while 31 percent were suspended and at least 17 percent were fired.
TSA officials defended the agency’s performance in a joint hearing of two House Homeland Security subcommittees on Wednesday, saying that the complaints captured by the report reflected on the performance of a small fraction of the TSA’s 55,000-member workforce.
“If they’re stealing, they’re doing drugs or breaching the security system intentionally and I can prove it, they’re out,” TSA Deputy Administrator John W. Halinski said at the hearing.
Watch CNN’s report on the findings from the federal report on the TSA’s performance, aired Wednesday, below.