TSA Incompetence May Make Thanksgiving Travel Even Worse Than Usual

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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Recent efforts by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to cut down on security loopholes have had an all too predictable result: even longer wait times.

New TSA Administrator David Pekoske admitted that travelers should expect “slightly increased wait times” as it is currently phasing in new security measures around electronic devices, Politico reported Wednesday. Pekoske has introduced the new security protocol following an audit of the TSA in 2015.

“There was a lot of pressure, we thought, on the checkpoint agents to keep people moving,” Obama-era TSA chief Peter Neffenger said. “We also found that we didn’t have as consistent and coordinated of a training system as I would have liked to have seen.”

Thanksgiving week is already the busiest travel time of the year, and Pekoske said those traveling on Sunday should expect to see the worst of the worst this year.

The TSA received another damning audit from its inspector general at the end of September. While the details of the audit are classified, media reports indicate that TSA agents let through roughly 70-80 percent of contraband and explosives. This is a marked drop from the 95 percent in 2015, but still dismally low.

So far, the TSA is only implementing new security measures at a few airports around the US, including airports in Arizona, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia.

“We look for windows of time where we can begin to phase [in] the implementation at airports across the country, and a window of time is between the end of the summer travel season and the beginning of the holiday travel season,” Pekoske said. “We’ve found that that process [in total] will have, in the long term, a negligible impact on passenger wait times.”

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