Misconduct by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees has become so pervasive it compromises airport security, according to a new congressional report.
The report found misconduct by TSA employees has increased substantially, and the TSA’s “bloated, top-heavy bureaucracy” cannot adequately address the problem. Following a six-month investigation, the House Committee on Homeland Security said “significant management reforms at TSA must be made” to improve the organization.
“We’re in the highest threat environment since 9/11 and terrorists are intent on attacking civil aviation, as we’ve seen in Brussels and Istanbul,” Rep. Scott Perry, chairman of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee, said in a statement. “TSA needs significant and lasting reforms to address its employee misconduct crisis.”
Misconduct by TSA employees grew by nearly 30 percent between 2013 and 2015, “despite a large bureaucracy designed, in part, to address employee misconduct,” the report states. Though wrongdoing has grown, investigations into misconduct have decreased. Nearly half of all TSA officers have been accused of misconduct, and 25 percent are allegedly repeat offenders. (VIDEO: TSA Agents BEAT AND JAIL Disabled Teen With Brain Cancer)
“TSA has developed a bloated, top-heavy bureaucracy to process misconduct allegations, but does not effectively provide leadership over it to ensure that misconduct is consistently addressed,” the report states. “Furthermore, TSA has failed to properly address misconduct despite using a significant amount of resources to manage or, in this case, mismanage, the misconduct process.”
Furthermore, the report found indications misconduct permeates all levels of the TSA. Particularly, some senior security managers “mandated employee transfers around the country, as, in some cases, retaliation for employees elevating security concerns.”
The report praised TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger for his efforts to reform the TSA, but expressed doubt about how those reforms would continue under new leadership in the next presidential administration.
“TSA will likely have new leadership with the change in administration, and it is unclear whether the officials that stay with TSA will continue to demonstrate this type of commitment,” the report says. TSA administrators are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
TSA Deputy Administrator Dr. Huban Gowadia told the committee Thursday she expects to remain in her position under the next administration. “I hope to stay there for a good bit of my career,” Gowadia said. Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Andrew Oosterbaan also testified before the committee.