Increasing Misconduct by U.S. TSA Workers Raise Travelers’ Concerns
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to draw attention and concern among travelers and U.S. Government Officials.
The latest report came Friday with the arrest of a Federal Air Marshal for taking underskirt photos of women travelers boarding a flight from Nashville, Tennessee to Tampa, Florida.
A report in August by the U.S. Government Accountability Office said that misconduct by TSA workers had increased by 26% over the last three years. However David Borer of the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, noted the fact that the population of those workers involved in misconduct represents only 1% of the total force.
Other recent reports of TSA misdeeds include a nine-year-old boy who snuck past a checkpoint and boarded a flight without a ticket, agents detaining a three-year old girl bound to a wheelchair, and an undercover inspector sneaking an explosive device past a checkpoint.
Disrespect by travelers towards TSA workers has risen to a level that warranted the adding of a warning against “inappropriate remarks or jokes” to their public message recording briefing passengers. This addition to the TSA’s pre-recorded message was discovered at George Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas this week.
It is also feared that the skepticism about the TSA will thwart efforts to encourage enrolment in its recently announced Pre-Check program. For a fee, participants can register in the program and be given expedited treatment.
Critics of the Pre-Check program say that enrolling in it is too invasive in the personal privacy of registrants because of its requirement to submit fingerprints for a background investigation. Some critics also see the Pre-Check program as a way for the TSA to extort money because those not in the program get lower quality service.
Travelers should check the TSA’s website at Tsa.gov for the latest information on their policies and what they check for. Having documents such as a government ID, declaring all medications, placing liquids and gels in a clear plastic zip-top bag, and traveling with footwear that can be easily removed are all helpful tips for speeding up the passenger screening process.
The TSA came into existence in 2001 following the earlier September 11 attacks in the same year. It operates as part of the Department of Homeland Security.
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