Complaints Against TSA Agents up 26 Percent in Three Years

Mike O'Brien

A new government report alleges that the U.S. Transportation Security Agency does not have a proper system in place to ensure that its employees follow its rules.

The report, which was released ahead of congressional hearings on the TSA which are due to begin today (Wednesday), said complaints against airport security workers have increased 26 percent in the past three years.

Complaints included the inconsistent use of security devices such as X-ray machines and the use of drugs and alcohol by TSA agents while on duty.

It pointed out that 3,408 misconduct allegations were filed against TSA workers last year, up from 2,691 in 2010.

The Government Accountability Office report said most complaints were over lack of attendance and security policies.

But it also highlighted one case in which an employee left an assigned checkpoint to help a family member get a bag -- later found to contain "numerous prohibited items" -- past screening.The employee was suspended for seven days, according to the report.

In another instance, from January 2012, two former employees of the TSA were sentenced to six months in jail after they admitted stealing $40,000 from a bag at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

The TSA, which was created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, lacks a comprehensive review process "to verify that TSA staff at airports are complying with policies and procedures for adjudicating employee misconduct," the report said.

In its defense, the TSA responded to the report by saying in a statement that it followed the "highest ethical standards."

The agency has "zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace," it added.

The role of the TSA will be discussed at IDGA’s 2nd Annual Cargo Security Summit in November. For full details, go to