A congressional inquiry into the TSA has identified more than 25,000 airport security breaches in the past 10 years.
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) cited this statistic in opening the second session in a series of hearings on TSA Oversight. Chaffetz is leading this inquiry as chairman for the House subcommittee on National Security.
Chaffetz further noted that of the 25,000 breaches, 14,000 people have found their way into sensitive areas of the airport and 6,000 travelers have made it past government screeners without proper scrutiny.
While the statistics may appear alarming, the numbers represent less than a fraction of 1 percent of the total number of airport travelers in the past 10 years. The TSA estimates that 5.5 billion travelers have been screened by more than 450 airports across the country.
A security breach is broadly defined as anything from a misplaced checked bag to someone caught in the act of breaching security.
TSA spokesperson Greg Soule responded with the statement that “[the TSA] takes every security breach incident seriously and take[s] appropriate action accordingly which is why the TSA keeps close track of all the ‘breaches.’ Many of these instances were thwarted or discovered in the act.”
These inquiries into the TSA come after several high-profile lapses and public outrage over TSA security practices.
Among the latest outrages: TSA Says It Acted Appropriately In Demanding Removal of Terminally-Ill 95-Year-Old’s Adult Diaper
T.J. Orr, director of aviation at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, testified to Congress that the TSA conducts business with “a rigid attitude of arrogance and bureaucracy.” While every commercial airport receives a security assessment each year, Orr criticized the amount of time it takes to complete such assessments.
The TSA statement indicates that it is continually updating its technology and protocol. In a recent study by the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA’s SPOT screening program, first implemented in May 2010, was proven to be more effective than random screenings.
In more than a decade in existence, the TSA has not been credited with catching any individual charged with a terrorism-related crime.
So what do you think of the TSA’s security record to date? And what should be done about airline and airport security? Let us know in the comments…
By Lily J. Kosner for PeterGreenberg.com.
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