Published On: Wed, Jul 31st, 2013

New Report notes sleeping, security breaches as TSA misconduct rises 26% in three years

Transportation Security Administration officers were cited for more than 9,600 cases of misconduct from 2010 to 2012, according to a new government report that shows agency employees often received light punishments for sneaking prohibited items past scanners or napping on the job.

A child in wheelchair crying as TSA delayed her flight to Disney  screenshot of video coverage of story

A child in wheelchair crying as TSA delayed her flight to Disney screenshot of video coverage of story

The report, released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office, found nearly 2,000 cases of screeners who were sleeping, not following procedures or allowing relatives to bypass security checkpoints.

More than 3,000 screeners showed up late, not at all or left the job without permission, GAO reported.

A 26% increase in misconduct among TSA employees between 2010 and 2012 is striking a nerve with some travelers who’ve had to endure the shoeless, beltless shuffle on the trip through security.

“This makes me never want to check my bag,” Twitter user KathrynPowers1 posted Wednesday in response to the news.

The report details one case of a TSA agent suspended for seven days after trying to carry a relative’s bag past security without screening. A supervisor interceded and the bag was found to contain “numerous prohibited items,” according to the GAO report. It didn’t say what the items were.

In another case, a TSA agent was suspended for 30 days after a closed-circuit camera caught the officer failing to individually examine X-ray images of passenger items, as required by agency policy.

Among the 9,622 offenses cataloged in the report, the GAO also found 384 ethics and integrity violations, 155 “appearance and hygiene” complaints and 56 cases of theft.

Among the report’s findings:

— Misconduct cases involving TSA employees — everything from being late to skipping crucial security protocols — rose from 2,691 a year in 2010 to 3,408 in 2012.

— About a third of the cases involved being late or not reporting for work, the largest single category of offenses.

— 10% of offenses involved inappropriate comments or abusive behavior.

— About a quarter involved screening and security failures — including sleeping on the job — or neglect of duty offenses that resulted in losses or careless inspections.

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