TSA officer misconduct laid out in government report

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by TRAVIS PITTMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 31, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 31 at 5:41 PM

Sleeping on the job. Missing work. Helping a family member bypass security.

These are just some of the more than 9,600 cases of TSA employee misconduct found by the Government Accountability office between 2010 and 2012. The report was written at the request of Congress members.

The most common offense involved attendance and leave, followed by screening failures and sleeping on the job.

In one case, the GAO found that an officer (TSO) left their checkpoint to help a family member with a carry-on bag. The TSO took the bag around the security checkpoint while the family member went through and then returned the bag on the other side. A supervisor spotted this and sent the bag back through security. It contained several prohibited items.  That TSO was suspended for seven days.

In another case, an officer was seen on surveillance video intermittently running luggage through an X-ray scanner without stopping the conveyor belt to review each image. That worker was suspended 30 days.

Another TSO pleaded guilty in 2011 to federal charges for stealing more than 80 laptop computers and other electronic devices from passenger luggage.

The report did not specify how many offenses occurred at Sea-Tac Airport.

A breakdown of the problems found by the GAO:

 

  • Attendance and leave (3,117 cases): Unexcused or excessive absences or tardiness, absence without leave, failure to follow leave procedures
  • Screening and security (1,936 cases): Failure to follow standard operating procedures, bypassing screening, sleeping on duty
  • Failure to follow instructions (1,548 cases): Insubordination, ignoring policies, disrespectful conduct
  • Inappropriate comments or conduct (949 cases): Inappropriate or sexual misconduct, fighting, abusive language, or abusive use of authority
  • Drugs and alcohol (456 cases): Use of drugs or alcohol on duty, refusal of drug test, positive drug or alcohol test, driving under the influence, use or sale of drugs
  • Neglect of duty (426 cases): Inattention to duty resulting in a loss of property or life, careless inspection
  • Integrity and ethics (384 cases): Bribing, conflicts of interest, criminal conduct, nepotism, charge card abuse, misuse of government identification, accepting a gift, improper association
  • Falsification (312 cases): Lack of candor, forgery, unauthorized recording, time and attendance fraud
  • Appearance and hygiene (155 cases): Uniform violations, keeping an unprofessional appearance
  • All other categories of misconduct (339 cases): This includes property damage, theft, safety, health, safeguarding information and mishandling classified information.


Twenty-one percent of those caught in cases of misconduct were fired, resigned or retired. Thirty-two percent were suspended and 47 percent were given a letter of reprimand.

The GAO report said the TSA has taken steps to cut down on employee misconduct. Read the full report
 

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