TSA screeners slacking off, report finds

Oct. 9, 2012 at 4:09 PM
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HONOLULU, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Transportation Security Administration screeners routinely failed to check bags for explosives at Honolulu International Airport, a government report said.

The report, issued by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, found "a lack of effective and consistent supervision of TSA screeners by their managers, as well as inconsistent adherence to operating procedures."

ABC News said screeners routinely opened bags and inserted TSA luggage screening notifications without actually looking through the bags, and then allowed them to be loaded onto flights carrying hundreds of passengers to destinations all over Asia and the Americas.

ABC noted the instances in which luggage screeners stole items from passengers' bags. Pythias Brown, a former TSA screener who was sentenced to three years in prison, estimated he'd stolen $800,000 in cash and other items while employed as a luggage screener before he was caught.

Brown said the practice was commonplace.

"It was very convenient to steal," he told ABC. "[TSA agents] didn't think it was OK, but they did it and said, 'I don't care. They ain't paying me. They're treating me wrong.' But when people started seeing they could profit off of it, then it became massive."

TSA refuted Brown's claim, saying fewer than .05 percent of its screeners have been caught stealing and criminally charged. The agency said it took "personnel action" against screeners accused of mishandling luggage inspections.

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