Aviation News

July 31, 2013

Government Accountability Office Releases TSA Oversight Review

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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Mr. Stephen Lord, Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues

On Wednesday morning, The House held a hearing on the challenges the TSA faces in the wake of a Government Accountability Office released the day before. The 38 page report detailing how the TSA could strengthen oversight of allegations of employee misconduct shows several weaknesses in the TSA misconduct system. The TSA’s reputation is not exactly stellar, with stories often popping up in the news about Transportation Security Officers stealing from passengers, sleeping on the job, and other misconduct.

The report says that between fiscal years 2010 and 2012, 9,600 cases of employee misconduct occurred, with “attendance and leave” making up 32% of the cases, and screening and security (referring to violating standard operating procedures, including not conducting security or equipment checks, and allowing patrons or baggage to bypass screening) taking up another 20%.

Of the cases that we analyzed, 47 percent resulted in letters of reprimand, which describe unacceptable conduct that is the basis for a disciplinary action; 31 percent resulted in suspensions of a definite duration; and 17 percent resulted in the  employee’s removal from TSA. The remaining cases covered a variety of outcomes, including suspensions of an indefinite duration.

The GAO report makes it clear that although the TSA has taken steps since 2010 to help manage the investigations and adjudications process, they recommend that additional procedures to help better monitor employee misconduct,

While TSA has taken these steps, we reported weaknesses in four areas related to monitoring of employee misconduct cases: (1) verifying that TSA staff at airports comply with policies and procedures for adjudicating misconduct, (2) recording case information on all adjudication decisions, (3) tracking the time taken to complete all phases of the investigations and adjudications process, and (4) identifying allegations not adjudicated by the agency.
Over the next few years, The House hopes that the TSA plans to implement changes to meet these recommendations. Full text of the report follows:

TSA Could Strengthen Monitoring of Allegations of Employee Misconduct

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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