GOP Senator: TSA’s 96 Percent Failure Rate Is The Least Of Its Problems

Peter Fricke | Contributor

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse claims that a 96 percent failure rate at spotting weapons and explosives is just the beginning of the Transportation Security Administration’s troubles.

“The publicly available facts are disturbing, but the classified details are even worse,” Sasse writes in an op-ed for USA Today on Monday.

Last week, ABC News revealed that undercover Homeland Security agents were able to sneak fake weapons and explosive past TSA agents on 67 out of 70 attempts, leading to the dismissal of the agency’s acting administrator. The tests were conducted as part of a larger investigation into the effectiveness of TSA screening procedures by the agency’s Inspector General.

Sasse, who is a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says that while he was “appalled” by the news, many other vulnerabilities were also disclosed in the still-classified IG’s report. (RELATED: TSA: ISIS Plans Attack on US Soil)

“If moms knew what members of Congress have learned behind closed doors,” Sasse asserts, “they would march on Washington demanding an urgent, top-to-bottom reevaluation of airport security.” And such a reevaluation is exactly what Sasse believes is necessary, because he has “never seen anything so inept” as the TSA’s leadership.

The first step in improving the agency’s effectiveness, Sasse claims, would be for President Obama to “responsibly declassify” all other information about the TSA’s failings that would not “[give] our enemies specific technological or strategic information.”

“Washington has a lazy and destructive habit of building bureaucracies instead of setting strategies,” he explains, but “by demanding transparency in this investigation, the American people can force Washington to break the ‘bureaucracies first’ habit.” (RELATED: Sen. Rand Paul ‘Detained’ by TSA in Nashville, TSA Denies)

This is not the first time that TSA vulnerabilities have been exposed, according to ABC, and previous incidents seem to support Sasse’s call for transformative changes in the agency’s strategy and leadership.

In 2013, for instance, an undercover agent was able to sneak a fake bomb through both a metal detector and a manual pat-down. (RELATED: TSA Can’t Deny Latest Groping Allegations)

More disturbingly, a 2009 investigation uncovered deficiencies in the procedures for screening checked baggage, but despite spending over $500 million to address the problem, a review conducted earlier this year determined that, “the TSA failed to make any noticeable improvements” since the time of the original report.

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