By Andrea Romano
January 14, 2019
MARK RALSTON/Getty Images

The TSA works tirelessly to make sure we’re all safe in the sky, but one unfortunate misstep can lead to a serious situation.

According to WSB-TV Atlanta, a passenger on Delta Airlines managed to sneak a gun past the security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and fly all the way to Tokyo, Japan before being discovered.

A spokesperson for the TSA told CBS News, “Standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did in fact pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on January 2.”

The passenger apparently alerted the airline about the gun himself, CBS News reported. It’s unclear whether he will face any charges, especially since there were no further incidents.

Despite the TSA becoming extremely short handed by workers calling in sick or even quitting due to the government shutdown, the organization says that this instance was not a result of the federal government standstill over the last three weeks.

According to CBS News, the amount of workers calling in sick on the day of the incident, Jan. 2 of this year, was the same as the numbers reported almost one year ago on Jan. 3, 2018.

However, according to CNN, reports of TSA workers calling in sick due to the shutdown had already started to circulate on Jan. 4.

The TSA still dismisses claims that the government shutdown played a role in this incident. Instead, the fault lies with possible technology glitches or human error. After all, the TSA occasionally still misses items, including firearms, even when the government is functional, according to CNN.

Assistant administrator for public affairs for the TSA, Mike Bilello, said on Twitter, “TSA, airport authorities and airlines continue to work closely to ensure resources are optimized, efforts to consolidate operations are actively managed, and screening and security are never compromised.”

TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CBS News, “It happens because the technology doesn't get everything all the time....either there's a technology issue, there's a procedural issue, or there's a training issue.”

Still, TSA officials understand that the discovery of firearms getting through security is alarming to travelers, and intends to “hold those responsible appropriately accountable,” CNN reported.

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