(WASHINGTON) – The union representing over 45,000 Transportation Security Officers today blasted TSA critics on Capitol Hill for trying to sensationalize the report’s findings. The American Federation of Government Employees said the report itself found that only a tiny fraction of the huge workforce was involved in any misconduct, and fewer still have been involved in misconduct that had any relation to security.
In a statement, AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr. said:
“Efforts by Representative Mica and others on Capitol Hill to hype this report as evidence of widespread and scandalous misconduct by TSA employees run contrary to the facts of the report itself.
“The GAO study of allegations of misconduct on the part of TSA employees has been wildly misrepresented. TSA critics on Capitol Hill seize every opportunity to give the agency and its dedicated workforce a black eye, even when the facts to not support their arm-waving displays of false outrage. They want to drag us back, as a nation, to the pre-9/11 practice of using poorly trained, minimum wage rent-a-cops to protect the flying public from terrorists. Their theory that private, for-profit security is better than that provided by TSA is not borne out by the facts of this report. The data GAO analyzed show once again that the TSA workforce is doing a great job protecting the flying public, and that around 99% of the employees are never involved in security-related misconduct.
“In an agency with a workforce the size of a small city, spread out over more than 400 airports, misconduct numbers this small indicate success, not failure. No one condones any misconduct and TSA is diligent in investigating allegations that range from being a few minutes late to work to violating security protocol. Thanks to our union, the agency is required to evaluate evidence when charges of misconduct are made, and when the facts warrant discipline, tailor the punishment to the offense. Efforts to sensationalize these kinds of routine management functions in order to make the case for the return of the failed, for-profit model of airport screening are appalling and irresponsible.”