If you thought airport security checks were annoying before, it’s a safe bet that you are really going to hate them in the not-too-distant future. According to a report from ABC News on Monday, the Transportation Security Agency’s own internal review determined that 95 percent of attempts to smuggle weapons and explosives through airline security checks were successful.
The report, based on information ABC described as coming from TSA officials briefed on the issue, said that the TSA’s “red teams,” which try to breach security in an effort to test the agency’s processes, have found major flaws in the system meant to keep travelers safe.
According to ABC, red teams conducted 70 separate attempts to get illegal material through security checks, and succeeded 67 times. The attempts included explosive devices attached to agents’ bodies under clothing and other contraband.
According to the report, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was personally briefed on the findings, and a spokesperson for the agency told ABC that the TSA would be required to adopt a number of new procedures in order to tighten security in the nation’s airports.
The TSA findings, reportedly included in a forthcoming Inspector General’s report, are likely to further inflame a simmering conflict between the TSA and members of Congress with oversight of the agency.
The report comes about one month after the TSA's acting administrator failed to show up to a House Oversight Committee hearing specifically intended to discuss whether the agency is providing sufficient security to protect the country's airports.
Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) invited TSA's acting chief Melvin Carraway to testify before the hearing to defend his agency against two watchdog reports questioning the TSA's security efforts.
However, the agency asked to send a deputy staff member in his place, a move that was not warmly received by Chaffetz, who rejected the request and blasted the TSA chief for being a no-show.
A spokesperson for the TSA said Carraway didn't attend the hearing because a member of the panel was from the private sector, and the agency's head only participates in congressional hearing panels with other government agencies to "avoid conflicts of interest."
Brianna Ehley contributed to this article.
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