WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration suffers from an image problem, and recent criminal and negligent behavior by airport screeners has made matters worse.
Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Homeland Security Transportation subcommittee, highlighted the agency’s troubles at a hearing Wednesday. “Stealing from checked luggage, accepting bribes from drug smugglers, sleeping or drinking while on duty – this kind of criminal behavior and negligence has contributed significantly to TSA’s shattered public image,” the Alabama Republican said.
Yet Rogers, who has criticized TSA in the past for not appropriately disciplining employee misconduct, said he was optimistic about its progress. He responded positively when told the TSA had started immediately firing employees caught stealing, using drugs or failing to screen passengers and luggage.
“That’s a new development. I’m glad to hear that,” Rogers said.
The administration has been under severe congressional scrutiny this year for everything from patting down children and the elderly to wasting money on unused screening equipment.