Homeland Security Secratary Jeh Johnson called for reforms to the TSA after they failed airport screening tests. According to the Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, undercover investigators were able to get banned weapons and explosives through security 95% of the time.
The tests were carried out at 70 airports across the United States and only three of those were able to detect the dangerous paraphernalia.
“The numbers in these reports never look good out of context but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security,” Mr Johnson said. “We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve.”
In one case, TSA agents were unable to detect a fake bomb taped to a man’s back even though they patted the man down.
“After spending over $540 million on baggage screening equipment and millions more on training, the failure rate today is higher than it was in 2007. Something is not working,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz (R.-UT), the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
A spokesperson for Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that the secretary directed the TSA to take immediate steps to close the gaps that have been discovered.
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“Today, all air travelers are subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers of protection, both seen and unseen, including: intelligence gathering and analysis, cross-checking passenger manifests against watchlists, screening at checkpoints, random canine team screening at airports, reinforced cockpit doors, Federal Air Marshals, armed pilots and a vigilant public,” said the spokesperson.