Undercover investigation finds serious problems with TSA screenings

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A recent undercover investigation by the Department of Homeland Security finds that TSA checkpoints are failing to identify weapons and banned items at an alarming rate.

In 2017, undercover agents with weapons like knives, guns and even explosives, were able to get through TSA checkpoints without a problem 70% of the time. While high, that number is down from 2015, when 95% of undercover agents got through checkpoints undetected.

“70 percent is a huge number, so what are they looking for,” asked Delanie Heafy, just one of the concerned travelers WNCT spoke with at PGV Airport in Greenville.

Some questioned why so much tax money is being spent on an organization that is failing to do it’s job correctly.

“It certainly seems like a training issue and a monitoring issue,” said Cathy Umruh, another traveler.

Following the September 11th attacks, the TSA increased screening protocols and added items to the banned list.

Frank Cilluffo, the former director of the Homeland Security Advisory, says the agency plays a huge role in deterring future terrorist attacks.

“They’re looking for vulnerabilities that could be exploited and we need to make sure that we can push that as far as we can to minimize the risk,” Cilluffo said.

The TSA said they are taking the findings of the investigation seriously.

In a statement, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said, “We take the OIG’s findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints. We are focused on staying ahead of a dynamic threat to aviation with continued investment in the workforce, enhanced procedures, and new technologies.”

The TSA also said they conduct tens of thousands of internal tests each year to ensure the safety of passengers.

Many travelers we spoke with said the findings won’t deter them from flying in the future.

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