The Transportation Security Administration reportedly failed up to 80 percent of screening tests, allowing fake explosives and firearms through checkpoints. The result is that this Sunday could be one of the worst days in history for air travelers, with 2.6 million screenings expected under tighter security.
The Transportation Security Administration has bad news for tens of millions of Thanksgiving travelers: Lines at airports may be even longer than usual as the agency again tries to plug security holes in its baggage screening, Politico reports. TSA is scrambling to respond to another damning investigation, for the second time in little more than two years. The agency already is phasing in revised security procedures — including those for electronic devices — that could cause “a slight increase in wait times,” says new TSA administrator David Pekoske. “The procedure is new,” Pekoske said. “It’s new to passengers. It’s somewhat new to our screeners.”
Travelers could experience some of the longest wait times of the year on Sunday, when many return home from the holiday. TSA has projected that more than 2.6 million passengers and airline crew members will be screened on Sunday, potentially making it one of the agency’s top five busiest days ever. The squeeze illustrates a predicament TSA has faced since its creation in 2001: trying to balance effective security with the need to move travelers efficiently through checkpoints. Most details of the latest IG audit are classified, but media reports indicate that TSA failed somewhere between 70 percent and 80 percent of covert tests, allowing fake explosives, firearms and other prohibited items to slip through undetected. That’s only slightly better than the 95 percent failure rate that TSA suffered in a 2015 IG audit. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the Homeland Security Committee’s top Democrat said that not only were the findings from the new IG report “hair raising,” they showed little improvement since 2015.