DHS Investigation: More than 70 Percent of TSA Screenings Missed Test Weapons, Bombs

November 9, 2017

A recent undercover investigation by the Department of Homeland Security revealed that Transportation Security Administration screenings at airports around the country fail most of the time.

The House Homeland Security Committee was told Wednesday that DHS investigators found that undercover officers were able to pass TSA checkpoints over 70 percent of the time with mock knives, guns, and explosives, CBS News reported.

Just two years ago, testing found a 95 percent failure rate, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.

The hearing was supposed to be closed but was opened to the press after members of Congress decided the findings were too urgent to be kept under wraps.

"We found that briefing disturbing," said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The DHS Office of Inspector General made eight classified recommendations based on the undercover operation. In a statement, the TSA said it took the "OIG findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints."

The TSA and members of Congress support replacing old check point scanners with new CT technology.

"In this system, we use high power algorithms to detect explosives," said Mark Laustra, a vice president at Analogic, the company developing the technology."

TSA administrator David Pekoske told Congress on Wednesday that the CT technology is the most effective way that his agency can keep passengers safe, but stressed that the cost is a hurdle.

"To invest in the CT technology requires funding above what TSA currently has," Pekoske said.

Frank Cilluffo, a former director of the Homeland Security advisory council, said the TSA cannot be complacent as long as terrorists target airports.

"They're looking for vulnerabilities that can be exploited, and we need to make sure that we can push that as far as we can to minimize the risk," Cilluffo said.

The TSA this summer was a year behind schedule in launching a pilot program with the CT scanners. The agency announced last week that it is investing an additional $4 million into the technology.

American Airlines bought some of the scanners for the TSA to speed up the limited deployment of CT technology.

Published under: DHS , TSA