WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Bad news for the Transportation Security Administration which is trying to shake the reputation of TSA standing for “Thousands Standing Around.”
An undercover operation revealed that TSA screenings at airports failed most of the time. Investigators found screeners missed test weapons and bombs at baggage checkpoints more often than not.
In a classified briefing, members of the House Homeland Security Committee learned that more than 70 percent of the time, undercover Department of Homeland Security investigators were able to get through TSA checkpoints with mock knives, guns, and explosives.
While that may sound bad, it’s actually an improvement.
Just two years ago, testing found a 95 percent failure rate.
The Office of Inspector General has made eight classified recommendations based on the undercover operation. In a statement, the TSA said the took the “OIG findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints.”
Members of Congress and the TSA want to replace their old scanners with new CT scanners which use high power algorithms to detect explosives.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske told Congress the CT technology is the most effective way to keep passengers safe, but the cost is a major hurdle and above what the TSA currently has.
Frank Cilluffo, a former Director of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, said that as long as terrorists target airports, the TSA cannot be complacent.
They’re looking for vulnerabilities that can be exploited. We need to make sure that we can push that as far as we can to minimize the risk,” he said.
Over the summer, the TSA launched a pilot program with the new CT scanners, a year behind schedule. Last week they announced an additional $4 million investment in the technology. American Airlines even bought some of the machines to speed up their limited deployment.