Report: TSA Plagued by Misconduct Problems

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By on September 25, 2018 in Agency News with 0 Comments
Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC)

What is the work culture like at TSA? It is apparently pretty bad according to a new report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The report just issued by Committee Republicans says that senior officials within the Transportation Security Administration engaged in recurrent misconduct with minimal consequences, inappropriately used involuntary directed reassignments to retaliate against disfavored employees and whistleblowers, and – under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of General Counsel (OGC) – withheld documents and information from Congress and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).

The report outlines numerous examples of instances of misconduct by agency employees including offenses such as an Assistant Federal Security Director for Inspections (AFSD) who was found to have made sexually inappropriate and racially offensive comments, multiple instances of sexual misconduct by airport security officials, and the Deputy Assistant Administrator driving while intoxicated and misleading police about whether she was the driver of her vehicle.

The report also said that the TSA used directed reassignments to retaliate against whistleblowers. “TSA employees were issued lateral directed reassignments to new positions hundreds of miles from their stations without any discernable organizational need or justification,” according to the report.

The report even said that the TSA withheld documents and information from Congress and the Office of Special Counsel in an effort to obstruct Congressional investigations. According to the House Oversight Committee, it ultimately issued a subpoena to compel the documents in question but that DHS OGC directed TSA not to produce the documents.

A summary statement from the report reads, “The toxic combination of unchecked misconduct by senior officials and retaliation against rank-and-file whistleblowers undermined employee morale, reflected in the agency’s astronomical attrition rates (as high as 20 percent in some segments of the workforce during the period in question) and abysmal ranking in a government-wide job satisfaction survey (336 out of 339 agencies and components in 2017).”

A copy of the report is included below.

House Oversight Committee Democrats issued a related report with recommendations on security operations, personnel management, and transparency to improve the problems within the agency. A hearing will be held by the Committee on September 26, 2018 to review the results of the investigation into the various problems at the TSA.

House Oversight Committee Report on TSA Misconduct

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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