The Transportation Security Administration pushed back Thursday against claims made by a former TSA officer that the agency’s operations represented an “an abuse of public trust and funds.”
Former TSA officer Jason Edward Harrington published an expose Thursday at Politico Magazine — titled “Dear America, I saw you naked and yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA” — about the unsavory aspects of the agency and his time working as an agent at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
“Many of the TSA procedures and policies referenced in this article are no longer in place or are characterized inaccurately,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein emailed The Daily Caller in a statement when asked about Harrington’s article.
“Every passenger deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy upholds this standard. TSA does not tolerate any form of unethical or unlawful behavior by its employees and takes swift disciplinary action if discovered,” he added.
In his article Harrington details how TSA agents gawked at the nude images of passengers in the recently eliminated “nude” body-scanners, how agents were instructed to profile people from Middle Eastern countries (excluding Pakistan and Saudi Arabia), that agents would use pat downs as retaliation for rudeness, and the fact that even TSA employees lacked confidence in the system.
“TSA’s top priority is to protect the traveling public, and every policy and security procedure in place is designed to mitigate threats to passengers and the aviation sector – which we know our adversaries continue to target,” Feinstein wrote. “TSA is always taking steps to enhance our procedures, to most importantly stay ahead of evolving threats, and wherever possible to also improve the experience of the traveling public.”
Feinstein explained that since November 2011 the agency has been implementing a “risk-based security procedures” and moving away from a “‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.”
“TSA has installed Automated Target Recognition software on every Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) unit in use, eliminating the analyzed images referenced in the article,” he added.
“In addition, TSA has implemented changes in screening for passengers 12 and under and over 75, implemented programs to accommodate Wounded Warriors, and has instituted one-step removal procedures in many cases for employees behaving unethically or unlawfully,” he concluded.
Feinstein did not comment on whether or not the agency has contacted Harrington, who is currently working on a novel based on his experience.