SCHUMER: DESPITE CONTINUING THREAT OF LAPTOP BOMBS AND OTHER EXPLOSIVES, TSA STILL FAILING TO DETECT EXPLOSIVES & COMPONENTS FOR WEAPONS AT AIRPORTS; SENATOR CALLS ON NEW DHS, TSA LEADERS TO CONDUCT TOP-TO-BOTTOM REVIEW OF TRAINING & DETECTION EQUIPMENT & ADDRESS SHORTFALLS ASAP; NEW TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES MUST BE CONSIDERED BECAUSE TERRORISTS EXPLOIT OUR WEAK POINTS
Millions Of Americans Are About To Fly For Thanksgiving But TSA Shortcomings In Airport Security Remain Unacceptable; Recent Media Reports & Public Security Breaches Are Deeply Alarming; Checkpoint Failures Could Jeopardize Safety of Air Travel
Successfully Sneaking Components For Bombs, Guns, Improvised Explosives Into Airports Demands Technology Upgrades; Closing Security Gaps Should Be #1 Priority Of TSA Administrator & Agency
Schumer: Continued TSA Security Failings In Era Of Lone Wolf Terror Is A Major Threat We Must Neutralize
With millions of Americans finalizing their Thanksgiving travel plans and on the heels of a new report revealing deeply concerning facts about the latest airport screening testing results conducted at airports across the U.S., U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the effectiveness of Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) employee training procedures, as well the need for upgraded detection technology. Schumer is demanding a full review of TSA employee training procedures as well as equipment testing. In addition, Schumer said such actions should begin immediately and that a thorough review should be conducted, and with cooperation from TSA’s new administrator, David Pekoske, in an effort to shed light on continued TSA security failings.
“In an era of lone wolf terrorists, the continued TSA security failures at airports across the country are highly concerning and a major threat we must neutralize,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “In light of the recent test result reports, TSA should move immediately to address all holes, shortfalls and gaps in training procedures, technology, and the entire airport security process.”
This newest report comes from the OIG and was just delivered this past week to the House Committee on Homeland Security. The report found that the OIG office was able to evade airport screeners most of the time and sneak banned items passed TSA checkpoints.
In 2015, media reports cited a TSA “Red Team” report suggesting agents failed to uncover 67 out of 70 threats at airports across the country. This news forced the acting head of the TSA to lose his job. Since then, the effectiveness of TSA screening has hardly improved. And the Congressional committee charged with homeland security expressed public concern with the TSA shortcomings.
At a November 8th Homeland Security Committee hearing in Congress, Chairman Michael McCaul said that a recent briefing the Inspector General noted “vulnerabilities in covert testing" as it relates to the TSA security screening at airports. According to media reports, the most recent undercover tests, conducted this year, suggest at least an 80 percent failure rate. As part of the undercover investigation, agents successfully smuggled fake weapons, explosives, and components through security checkpoints.
Schumer said that this revelation is deeply alarming, especially during a time in which lone wolf terrorist threats are at an all-time high. Schumer pointed to a recent threat made by terrorists planning to develop a laptop bomb. Schumer also pointed to an alarming incident earlier this week in which a man made his way onto the tarmac of Miami International Airport after sneaking through the conveyor belt.
Since 2003, Schumer has raised significant questions about how TSA screeners are trained – both when they are hired, as well as continued training on new procedures and equipment. At that time, the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General determined that 22 of 25 question on the checked-baggage screeners’ final examination were the same questions that were on the practice quiz. Schumer says, once again, concerns are being raised about security procedures and employee training.
Schumer noted that, in 2016, the TSA screened more than 2 million passengers each day. Over the course of last year, TSA officers screening 466 million checked bags.
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