The TSA Ethics Scandal That Could be Threatening Passenger Safety
New reports show that some TSA higher-ups are compromising our safety rather than protecting it—all while reaping five-figure bonuses.
Ever wonder why TSA employees seem so down in the dumps? According to new reports, it could be because of alleged ethical misconduct across the agency—including the demotion or relocation of whistleblowers who try to right the agency's wrongs.
As part of an ongoing investigation, the House Oversight Committee has found a shocking number of security and ethics infractions, which began with the TSA's failure to detect weapons and explosives in a whopping 95 percent of covert tests conducted last year. That discovery led to what may be even more shocking allegations: that the higher-ups who allowed these security breaches to slip by undetected were also rewarded with six-figure salaries and performance bonuses well north of $10,000.
One such case that has been made public involves TSA assistant administrator Kelly Hogan, a man that The Center for Investigative Reporting found "manages a workforce of 55,000 employees including security screeners at 450 airports nationwide." He was in office during the failed security tests last year, and still brought home bonus and award money in addition to his $183,000 salary.
Meanwhile, the New York Times has reported on a number of lawsuits from TSA employees that spoke up about security lapses at their airports. In one shocking testimonial, an agent's manager overruled her effort to prevent a convicted felon from using expedited security lanes. That incident and others like it have resulted in attempted suspensions, relocations, and other forms of punishment for whistleblowers—rather than rewards. Their alleged infractions? In some cases, the claims have been as transparent as "disloyalty" to TSA leadership.
Now, the TSA has until March 4 to produce documents about how it handles bonuses—but whether they'll get a slap on the wrist or a policy overhaul is anyone's guess.