Cases of misconduct by TSA employees have jumped 27% from 2010 to 2012, according to a new report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).
In that same stretch, the agency’s workforce grew by 6%.
Fortunately for travellers, the worst transgressions, including bribery, forgery, and use of drugs and alcohol, make up a relatively small percentage of total incidents.
More concerning is the 20% of cases in which a TSA officer failed to follow standard operating procedures for screening, bypassed screening, or fell asleep while on duty.
The report analysed 9,600 cases of employee misconduct for fiscal years 2010 through 2012.
It concluded that while the TSA has taken good steps to prevent and deal with future problems, it still shows weaknesses in four areas: verifying that staff comply with adjudication procedures; recording case information on decisions; tracking how long each case takes to process; and identifying allegations the agency does not adjudicate.
In response to a preliminary version of the report, the Department of Homeland Security concurred with the recommendations the GAO made to address each problem.
Here’s the full breakdown of misconduct cases by category:
Fortunately for TSA employees, only 17% of violations led to termination. The large majority of those involved are suspended for a defined period (1 to 31 days) or receive a letter of reprimand.
Here’s how punishment breaks down:
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