A new government report confirms what many travelers already know: that a good many of those men and women in the neon blue shirts working for the Transportation Security Administration are bad at what they do.
The report from the Government Accountability Office found that incidents of misconduct increased 26 percent between 2010 and 2012, with 3,408 incidents including absenteeism, sleeping on the job, stealing and even leaving weird notes in travelers' luggage.
25 percent of the incidents were categorized as screening failures—including napping on the job—and 10 percent of incidents involved making inappropriate comments or behaving abusively. Some 56 employees were caught stealing.
TSA officials denied the agency was in disarray. They said they had the "highest ethical standards" and "zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace."
And a TSA union lawyer told Reuters that the report was "much ado about nothing." The agency has 56,000 employees, David Borer said. "With about 3,000 misconduct allegations a year, that's 600 that involve security or .01 percent involved in security incidents."
But in a Capitol Hill hearing on July 31, John Halinski, TSA’s deputy administrator, told members of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security that TSA would follow the GAO’s recommendations to improve their process of tracking and reviewing staff misconduct.