TSA Screener Does the One Thing the TSA Exists to Prevent

TSA has one job: to keep dangerous items outside of security checkpoints. That alone doesn’t make us safe, as Brussels and Istanbul airport attacks before security screening made clear. And the TSA isn’t very good at it in any case, regularly missing 90% or more of dangerous items they screen.

At a minimum, though, you’d expect that the TSA itself wouldn’t be the one bringing guns in, but a Phoenix airport screener failed to get that memo bringing a loaded gun through a checkpoint there.

The TSA reports that the screener, who was caught, “has not performed security screening duties since that time” and that they are “evaluating what action will be taken against the employee.” Their statement itself disproves the claim that TSA

holds its employees to the highest standards of professional conduct. When an employee fails to uphold these standards, TSA takes swift and appropriate action.

After all, the employee brought a gun through a checkpoint:

  • and is still being paid (action is neither decisive nor has the employee been held to the highest standard)
  • and the TSA hasn’t decided what to do (therefore action isn’t swift).

Over 20,000 TSA employees have been accused of misconduct. Half of those have been accused of misconduct multiple times. Yet each time we’re told these are merely a few bad apples who in no way undermine the hard work that thousands of men and women at the TSA do to keep us safe, day in and day out.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Minimum qualifications and minimum pay leads to poor quality. If you really wanted security, you would hire qualified people and pay them well. That would be expensive, so the illusion of safety and the much lower cost associated with it is what we get. Simple as that.

  2. I know you have an intense dislike of the TSA, but it’s tough to disagree with you on this one.

    @RIC Flyer – Valid argument.

  3. Your statement that “TSA regularly misses 90% or more of dangerous items they screen” is either ignorantly or maliciously incorrect. The statistic you are abusing derives from a moment in time in which several officers missed a series of test items which were created by insiders to “stress test” the system, the technology, and the people. The sheer volume of human trafficking and loaded weapons interdicted by TSA each year points out the silliness of your statement. Are you suggesting that for every loaded gun we stop from getting into your cabin, that 9 more get onboard, and yet there are no related incidents? When you sneeringly make such statements, you marginalize the rest of your message with anyone who has actual knowledge, or the patience to check the facts.

  4. Ahem, “In Arizona, anyone who is not prohibited from owning a firearm and is at least 21 years old can carry a concealed weapon without a permit as of July 29, 2010”
    Obviously not through a security checkpoint, but when you can carry one everywhere else… Well, habits are hard to break.
    Also, be really nice to everyone you meet here 🙂

  5. @darkrobin: Thanks for the new word!
    Regarding the post, does anyone know which TSA officers sell cocaine? Asking for a friend.

  6. The qualifications and security clearance standards are not “minimum” and while the pay could be better it’s not exactly minimum wage. Also, how many planes have been hijacked or blown out of the sky since the TSA was established? Zero. Stop your complaining and ignorant comments people. Like it or not the TSA and every other layer put in place after 9/11 have made us safer warts and all.

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