US

Report: TSA employee misconduct leapt by 26 percent

Elizabeth Dorton Contributor

A new Government  Accountability Office report released Monday shows that misconduct by Transportation Security Administration workers is up by 26 percent in the last three years, CNN reports.

More than 9,000 cases of misconduct were reported in a three-year span, with over 1,900 incidents considered serious enough to be possible security threats.

From fiscal years 2010 through 2012, the annual number of TSA misconduct cases increased from 2,691 to 3,408.

Rep. John Mica (R-FL), who introduced the TSA audit, commented, saying that this may not even be the end of misconduct discoveries.

“There’s not even a way to properly report some of the offenses, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg of some of the offenses,” he said.

Thefts alone were committed by 56 screeners.

Other serious violations include sleeping on the job, leaving work without permission, and even allowing friends and family members to pass through security without screening.

In one case, $40,000 was lifted from a checked bag at John F. Kennedy airport.

Michael Arato, a TSA supervisor, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes. In 2011 he and an accomplice, a lower-ranking employee admitted to serial thefts. Arato’s partner would steal from travelers passing through security checkpoints, valued somewhere between $10,000 and $30,000, giving his boss a “kick-back,” so that he could be allowed to continue stealing.

David Borer, of the American Federation of Government employees, insists that their union workers are doing well, comparing the 9,000 workers in violation to a greater population.

“If you look at a population the size of a small city — 56,000 people in this work force — and the numbers then on an annual basis are then really, really small,” he said.

The GAO report says that the TSA employs “approximately 56,000 personnel.”

Only 17 percent of misconduct cases resulted in the violating employee’s removal from the TSA.

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