Originally published on June 4, 2015, at NationofChange.org
The acting head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was removed from his position on Monday after undercover Homeland Security agents successfully smuggled dozens of fake explosives and banned weapons through airport security checkpoints. With a failure rate of 96%, Acting Administrator Melvin Carraway has been reassigned to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters while his acting deputy director has been assigned take over his responsibilities. After spending $540 million for equipment and $11 million for training over the last six years, the TSA has failed to make any improvements since 2009.
Posing as passengers, DHS Red Teams regularly conduct internal investigations by attempting to smuggle fake weapons and explosives through TSA security checkpoints in order to test the limits and weaknesses of both their personnel and equipment. According to a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests conducted by undercover Red Teams. During one of these tests, an undercover DHS agent with a fake bomb taped to his back set off a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect the mock explosive device while patting him down.