Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Major shake-up underway at TSA: Acting director reassigned after airport security failings exposed

There is a major shake-up underway at the Transportation Security Administration after Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that acting director Melvin Carraway has been reassigned.

“I thank Melvin Carraway for his eleven years of service to TSA and his 36 years of public service to this Nation,” Johnson said.

A new report revealed that undercover agents were able to sneak fake explosives and banned weapons through TSA checkpoints. This investigation uncovered a massive, system-wide security failure at several America's airports.

Homeland Security officials confirmed that TSA screeners failed 67 out of 70 tests, or 96 percent, carried out by DHS investigators known as "red teams,"

Jeh Johnson issued a statement on how the DHS will be responding to the security failures at U.S. airports.

"First, I have directed TSA leadership to immediately revise its standard operating procedures for screening to address the specific vulnerabilities identified by the Inspector General’s testing.

"Second, I have directed TSA to immediately brief the results of testing to the Federal Security Directors at every airport across the United States.

"Third, I have directed TSA to conduct training for all transportation security officers, in a phased fashion, in airports across the country, and intensive training for all supervisory personnel to address the specific vulnerabilities identified by the Inspector General’s testing.

"Fourth, I have directed TSA, in phased fashion, to re-test and re-evaluate the screening equipment currently in use at airports across the United States. As a related matter, I personally intend to meet with senior executives of the contractors involved in the development of the equipment at issue to communicate to them the importance of their assistance in our efforts to investigate and remedy the deficiencies highlighted by the Inspector General.

"Fifth, I am asking the Inspector General and TSA to conduct continued random covert testing to assess the effectiveness of these and other measures to improve airport security.

"Sixth, I am appointing a team of TSA and DHS senior leaders to oversee and ensure timely implementation of these actions. I will remain personally engaged in this effort, and will ask the team to report its progress to me on a bi-weekly basis.

“Longer term, in the coming months, I have directed TSA to ensure that all screening equipment is operating up to the highest possible standards.

“I have also directed TSA and the Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology to examine adopting new technologies to address the vulnerabilities identified by the Inspector General’s testing.

“I continue to have confidence in the TSA workforce. Last fiscal year TSA screened a record number of passengers at airports in the United States, and, at the same time, seized a record number of prohibited items.

"TSA and the Inspector General are constantly testing and adapting the systems we have in place as part of our commitment to aviation security," Johnson said.

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