(WASHINGTON) — The Transportation Security Administration keeps an eye on travelers at our nation’s airports, but a new government report shows that someone needs to keep a better eye on the agency’s screeners.
The report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office says the TSA investigated nearly 10,000 cases of alleged misconduct by security screeners since 2010. The misconduct accusations included everything from sleeping on the job to failing to show up for work to allowing relatives to bypass security checkpoints.
Accusations of misconduct by TSA staffers increased 27 percent from 2010 to 2012, according to the GAO report.
The report says nearly one-third of the misconduct accusations involved unexcused absences or repeatedly showing up late for work. Some 20 percent involved a staffer sleeping on the job or failing to follow procedure. Sixteen percent of the misconduct allegations involved insubordination.
The GAO report says 47 percent of alleged staffer wrongdoing resulted in a letter of reprimand, 31 percent ended with a suspension and 17 percent resulted in dismissals.
The TSA issued a statement on the GAO report saying it “holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and expects all TSA employees to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism.”
The statement goes on to say the TSA “concurs with GAO’s four recommendations to ensure that the agency establishes a process to verify that TSA staff at airports are in compliance, and is already working to implement these recommendations.”
“There is zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace and TSA takes appropriate action when substantiated, including anything from a referral to law enforcement or termination of employment,” the statement concluded.
Two House Homeland Security subcommittees are scheduled to hold a joint hearing on Wednesday to examine misconduct by airport security personnel.
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Erin McClam, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN
Stephanie Elam, CNN
Ralph Ellis and Chuck Johnston, CNN