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October 05, 2012

TSA Officers, a Den of Thieves

By Wayne Adam, Contributing Writer

Who’s policing the police? Or in this case the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) Officers. 

Recently, an ABC Investigative Report caught a TSA Officer stealing an iPad which was left at an airport security check point in Orlando, Florida.  According to the Investigation, the iPad was one of ten that were purposely left behind at TSA checkpoints at major airports with a history of theft by government screeners. Once the iPad was taken, ABC News traced it through iPads inner tracking system which lead them to the home of the last TSA Officer seen handling it. The investigator, Brian Ross, confronted the TSA Officer who denied having the iPad and only produced it after the reporter activated the auto alarm feature. The TSA Officer was subsequently fired.

Image via Shutterstock

"This is the tip of the iceberg," said Rep. John Mica, R.-Florida, chair of the House Transportation Committee and a frequent critic of TSA senior management. "It is an outrage to the public, and actually to our aviation system."

According to the agency 400 TSA Officers have been fired for thievery since 2003 and in addition stated,  “To put theft at TSA in perspective, between May 1, 2003 through September 2012, a total of 381 TSOs have been terminated for theft, which represents less than 1/2 of one percent (0.4 percent) of officers that have been employed by the agency,” he said, adding that the “extremely small percentage does not reflect the dedication and professionalism of our workforce as a whole.”

Even so, there appears to be no oversight on TSA Officers. In an ABC News interview with Pyhias Brown a convicted, former TSA Officer, stated theft from airports by TSA Officers was “very common place.”

Brown went on to describe how easy it was to steal items from Newark Liberty International Airport, “It was so easy. One day I walked out of there with the video game, the Nintendo Wii. I walked right out of the checkpoint with the Nintendo Wii in my hand,”

Rep. John Mica, R.-Florida, chair of the House Transportation Committee said in a statement released by his office.

“This case in which a TSA employee absconded with private property from a screening checkpoint is another eye-opening example of how this bloated security agency cannot properly recruit, train, retain, and oversee a ballooning 65,000-person workforce.”

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Edited by Brooke Neuman
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