Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has released a report documenting crimes committed by some of the Transportation Security Administration’s employees in an effort to demonstrate what it cites as failures to effectively screen the employees it hires.
“‘Not on my watch’: 50 Failures of TSA’s Transportation Security Officers” details 50 arrests of TSA employees that have taken place since 2005. It notes that this is not an account of every TSA employee arrested during that timeframe, thus implying the actual number is much higher.
The goal of the report is to demonstrate the “urgent need” to improve airport screening operations throughout the country. According to the report, “Despite the ever present threat of domestic terrorism, many Transportation Security Officers have proven time and time again that they are unqualified to serve as one of our nation’s last lines of defense.”
What kinds of crimes are cited in the 50 arrests documented over the last 7 years? Among them are theft (15), sex crimes (8), child pornography (6), bribery (3), airport screening failures (2), and even murder (1). The report also notes, however, that any individual charged with a criminal offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
For each criminal offense documented, the TSA employee is listed by name and sometimes includes the individual’s photo. Date, location, the category of crime, and details of the incident are also provided.
Speaking about the release of the report, Blackburn said, “This report serves as a prime example as to why serious changes need to be made in the way TSA operates, specifically in their hiring practices of Transportation Security Officers. I believe that many of these problems stem from the fact that TSA does not consistently conduct criminal and credit background checks on new and existing employees. TSOs take the same oath as Members of Congress and the President of the United States and as such they should be held to the highest of standards.
“TSA needs to immediately remove themselves from the human resource business. This report details highly disturbing cases where pedophiles and child pornographers wearing federal law enforcement uniforms are not only patting down unsuspecting travelers, but in many cases stealing valuables from their bags. Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to step in and demand accountability from Administrator Pistole.”
Blackburn is also the sponsor of H.R. 3608, the Stop TSA’s Reach in Policy Act (STRIP), which would prohibit any TSA employee not trained as a federal law enforcement officer or eligible for federal law enforcement benefits from wearing law enforcement uniforms or wearing a police-like metal badge.