Congressional Leaders Call for Investigation of TSA Screening Incident in Honolulu

By on June 22, 2011 in Current Events with 13 Comments

Reps Jon Mica (R-FL) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) have requested an
Inspector General investigation of the recent TSA security screening
incident at Honolulu International Airport. The Associated Press had
previously reported
that 36 TSA workers were to be fired and 12 others
suspended after an investigation found that they did not properly screen
baggage at the airport.

KITV 4 News in Honolulu reported shortly after that the workers planned to appeal the firings.

The
Mica/Chaffetz investigation request comes in the same week as an
expected announcement on a collective bargaining unit for the nearly
50,000 TSA federal screener force.

Included among Mica and Chaffetz’s request of areas for the Inspector General
to investigate are the corrective and disciplinary actions taken
against the almost 50 TSA employees at Honolulu, and a review of the
TSA’s processes to remove non or underperforming security personnel at
the airport and in general.

“Unfortunately the incident at Honolulu Airport is just another
example of what can happen when the nation’s transportation security
agency acts as both the operator and regulator of aviation screening,”
Mica said.  “It is essential that we have a full investigation of this
massive TSA lapse and ensure the nation has the most effective security
system possible.”

“I have long expressed my serious misgivings about the TSA’s
approach to securing an airplane,” said Chaffetz.  “This most recent
incident in Hawaii only magnifies my concerns and highlights the
failures of the TSA.  There is a more effective and efficient way to
handle aviation screening.  I hope and expect this investigation will be
the catalyst for change.”

Chaffetz has indeed questioned the TSA’s practices before. In March, he introduced legislation addressing the TSA’s whole body imaging scanners over health and privacy concerns.

Mica believes the federal screening model should be dropped in favor
of a private screening process. He said, “By opting out of the
all-federal screening model, airports can benefit from a private
screening force that operates safely, efficiently, and prioritizes
customer service, and TSA can focus on establishing security standards,
setting and enforcing regulations, auditing the security system, and
gathering and analyzing intelligence.”

The request the two Congressmen put forth asks the DHS Acting Inspector General to investigate and provde the following:

  • A
    complete analysis of the failure of TSA’s oversight and supervision of
    baggage and passenger screening operations, protocols and procedures at
    HNL.
  • A detailed summary of the security system failure.
  • A review of HNL
    Transportation Security Officers (TSO) performance indicators, past
    evaluations, and all performance related disciplinary actions.
  • An
    examination of whether the initial and recurrent training requirements
    for TSOs at HNL were current and consistent with national training
    requirements.
  • The number of individuals involved their title and position, and current wage level.
  • Summary of corrective and disciplinary action.
  • A review of the TSA’s processes to remove non- or underperforming TSO’s in general, and at HNL in particular.
  • A review of the TSA’s plans to staff HNL screening operations until
    permanent TSO replacements can be hired and trained, and if the TSA
    plans to deploy the National Deployment Force, an audit of the total
    cost of such a deployment.

You can read the full text of the letter that was sent to the Acting Inspector General.

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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