According to media reports, the TSA fired five employees at Southwest Florid International Airport at Ft. Myers last week and suspended nearly 40 others for “willfully not performing random security checks” they were supposed to be doing.
Latest TSA Security ‘Meltdown’
Apparently, the violations occurred last year during a two-month-long period. According to a press release issued by Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a longtime TSA critic, this is just the latest example of what he calls a security “meltdown.”
Recent TSA Troubles at Newark, Honolulu
Last year, 28 TSA employees in Hawaii were fired in the wake of security screening problems that appear similar to what occurred in Florida. In the Honolulu International incident, screeners reportedly failed to screen luggage in the latter part of 2010, despite requirements that 100 percent of checked baggage receive such screening.
And last fall, TSA officers in Newark made news when TSA officers were prosecuted for stealing from passengers’ bags – including one officer who was secretly videotaped while taking $5,000 from a woman’s purse.
TSA: Time for a Complete Overhaul?
Rep. Mica is one of those who is tired of reading about alleged abuses such as grandmas getting ‘stripped searched’ (though the TSA denied it has ever stripped searched anyone), but the congressman maintains it’s time for the TSA to change the way it handles the nation’s airport security. “I am disappointed Administrator [John] Pistole has not reorganized TSA,” he said, “and instituted a meaningful risk-based operation that allows the agency to coordinate intelligence, connect the dots, and concentrate on identifying potential terrorists instead of shaking down little old ladies, children and innocent travelers.”