Hawaii TSA airport screeners fired over explosives lapse

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, June 11, 2011 12:33 EDT
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LOS ANGELES (AFP) – US transport authorities announced Friday the sacking of more than 30 staff at Honolulu International Airport for failing to screen baggage properly for explosives.

The Transportation Security Administration took the action after a probe on the US island state of Hawaii triggered in December when two TSA staff reported baggage being loaded onto aircraft without proper screening.

“The investigation determined that some checked baggage during one shift, at one airport location was not properly screened, impacting a limited number of flights each day during the last few months of 2010,” said a TSA statement.

The federal transport body said it had “proposed the removal of more than 30 Honolulu International Airport TSA employees following an extensive investigation into allegations of improper screening of checked baggage.”

“TSA holds its workforce to the highest ethical standards and we will not tolerate employees who in any way compromise the security of the traveling public,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole.

“We have taken appropriate action through our newly established Office of Professional Responsibility and are committed to ensuring our high security standards are upheld in Hawaii and throughout the country.”

Senior TSA staff have been temporarily assigned to the airport “to augment the current staff and continue to ensure that a high level of security operations continues,” said the agency.

“An effort will commence to hire local permanent replacements in the coming weeks.”
Security at US airports was tightened in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Authorities also warned of a need for heightened vigilance for possible reprisals after the May 2 killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama in Laden.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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