Minneapolis TSA Misses 95% of Prohibited Items
In an undercover test conducted just before the July 4th holiday weekend and covered by a local Fox affiliate based in Minneapolis, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security protocols at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport failed to detect 95 percent of contraband material passing through security screenings. According to Fox 9, “17 out of 18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons, or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected. Two sources told Fox 9 that the tests carried out Thursday were eventually stopped after the failure rate reached 95-percent.”
The failure rate is not unique to Minneapolis. In 2015, the acting head of the TSA, Melvin Carraway, was reassigned following a spate of similar failures.
NBC reported that, “In one case, an alarm sounded, but even during a pat-down, the screening officer failed to detect a fake plastic explosive taped to an undercover agent's back. In all, so-called ‘Red Teams’ of Homeland Security agents posing as passengers were able get weapons past TSA agents in 67 out of 70 tests — a 95 percent failure rate, according to agency officials.
The 2015 failures were highlighted in a report filed by the TSA Inspector General’s Office, after which then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson was reported at the time to have “immediately directed TSA to implement a series of other actions,” in addition to the decision to reassigning the TSA director, “several of which are now in place.” For example, 653 million travelers were scanned by TSA in 2014. But despite the incredible number of passengers subjected to screenings, “only 2,212 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging more than six firearms per day.”
A piece published by Psychology Today discusses the magnitude of the task before TSA, pointing out that the number of would-be terrorists traveling through airports is “vanishingly small” and arguing that “escalations in the thoroughness or intrusiveness of screening have the primary result of escalating the number of improperly detained passengers, while having little effect on the number of terrorists caught.
Following the recent failed tests in Minneapolis, the TSA refused to provide a comment, telling the Minneapolis Fox affiliate covering the story, “TSA cannot confirm or deny the results of internal tests and condemns the release of any information that could compromise our nation’s security.”
Posted in General News
Tags: TSA, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration