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Caught on video: TSA workers fail to check bags, may be fired

October 19, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • A baggage x-ray machine at a TSA checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport.
A baggage x-ray machine at a TSA checkpoint at Los Angeles International… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

The Transportation Security Administration has proposed firing or suspending more than 40 luggage checkers and supervisors at Newark Liberty International Airport for failing to properly inspect baggage.

The agency Friday recommended firing 25 workers and suspending 19 others without pay for up to two weeks for screening failures involving checked bags headed for domestic and international flights. Supervisors also failed to enforce bag-screening procedures between November and December of  last year, it said.

"TSA holds all of its employees to the highest professional and ethical standards and has a zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace," said agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

"Accountability is an important aspect of our work, and TSA takes prompt and appropriate action with any employee who does not follow our procedures and engages in misconduct. The decision to take disciplinary actions today ... reaffirms our strong commitment to ensure the safety of the traveling public and to hold all our employees to the highest standards of conduct and accountability," she said.

TSA officials said the employees under scrutiny in the matter were responsible for ensuring bags were screened for explosives, or for supervising the workers who did so. The agency fired eight workers in June as part of the same investigation.

All worked in a single screening room in Newark International’s Terminal B. Cameras had been installed in the room as part of a previous investigation into a worker accused of stealing from passengers' bags. That worker resigned last year and was not charged, the TSA said.

The employees recommended for firing or suspension Friday were shifted to non-screening duties after their work was seen on camera last year, the TSA said. The agency said it replaced them with screeners from its national pool.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

twitter.com/@josephserna

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