AFGE has issued the following statement regarding news reports on the results of a covert test by DHS investigators:
“This test was part of TSA’s ongoing efforts to anticipate new security threats and address vulnerabilities in the system. Despite the results, the fact remains that Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) are the best-trained and most effective guardians against attacks on our nation’s aviation security. Our TSOs are the best screeners in the world. The study can't change the fact that TSA officers detect and intercept hundreds of weapons and other contraband every month, including more than 2,200 handguns last year alone. What it can do is inform the TSA on emerging vulnerabilities and allow it to adjust the resources and processes necessary to keep up with an ever-evolving threat.
As little of the report is currently available, it is unclear what issues with TSA’s screening technology, protocols or training should be modified. Absent this context, it would be foolish to rush to judgment. Rather we are urging a sober approach that draws upon lessons from the full report to address understaffing, unrealistic line-speed standards, and a need for more training resources for front line employees.
As the full results of the investigation come to light, AFGE is offering Acting Administrator Mark Hatfield our full cooperation in working together to advance the TSA mission of protecting the flying public. We look forward to the quick confirmation of Coast Guard Vice Admiral Pete Neffenger as the next TSA Administrator, and to working closely with him on behalf of the TSO workforce the passengers they protect.”