Report blames TSA managers for baggage scandal - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Report blames TSA managers for baggage scandal

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A new report from the TSA shows a series of failures caused thousands of baggages at Honolulu Airport to go unchecked.

Back in June 2011, the TSA took steps to fire about 40 of its baggage screeners at Honolulu Airport after an investigation found that the workers didn't check baggage for explosives during the last four months of 2010.

But an audit by the TSA Office of the Inspector General also blamed Mainland TSA officials and local managers for the security breaches.

"This isn't the problem of a few bad apples," said U.S. Rep. John Mica, (R-Florida) a frequent critic of the TSA.

"There are system-wide problems with this massive bureaucracy …TSA is an agency crying out for reform."

The report, which can be found here, says that TSA's local managers provided little or no supervision for screeners working at a crowded section of the airport, known as Lobby Four.

The audit also said Mainland TSA officials held up sending critical equipment needed to screen for explosives by more than two years. The devices sat in a Mainland warehouse for years before it finally arrived at Honolulu Airport in December 2010.

Due to the lack of the equipment, TSA workers at Lobby Four had to cart passenger baggage more than 500 feet away – in heavy passenger traffic – to screen for explosives. Many employees simple refused to do this.

A separate TSA internal investigation completed in September 2011 upheld nearly all of terminations. The federal agency also suspended another 15 employees.

A TSA spokesman says the agency has addressed many of the problems cited in the audit by providing better training for its managers.

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