U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to immediately address the recent reports of their agents stealing property from luggage and security checkpoints at airports all over the country. Some of these stolen items include iPads, cameras, laptops and video game consoles. Schumer today wrote to TSA Administrator John Pistole, and asked him to implement random and frequent audits at checkpoints to immediately address this problem. Schumer suggested the audits could be conducted by undercover agents acting as travelers, and include property with embedded location tracking devices. Schumer emphasized that the vast majority of agents were hardworking, honest individuals. He said random audits would deter those who were not honest from engaging in illegal behavior, and help catch those who steal personal property.
Between May 1, 2003 and December 2011, a total of 381 Transportation Security Officers have been terminated for theft. And according to the FAA, over 200 complaints of missing items have been filed in the past 12 months.
“Traveling these days is stressful enough without having to worry about being robbed by those who are paid to keep us safe,” said Schumer. “I know and interact with TSA agents on a regular basis, and I know that the vast majority are honest, dedicated, and hard working. These random and undercover audits would help deter those who want to steal, and prevent them from sullying the good name of their colleagues.”
Schumer pointed to recent reports of TSA agents stealing the personal property of airline passengers. Some passengers have reported stolen iPads, Nintendo Wii systems and cameras. In a recent ABC investigative report, a iPad was tracked to a TSA agent’s home in Orlando, Florida.
To address this problem, Schumer is proposing random theft audits at airports across the country to test whether TSA agents are acting in a trustworthy manner to protect passenger property. The audits will involve lost property that has been placed in TSA’s custody intentionally. TSA’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigates allegations of misconduct of employees. Schumer made the case that the Office of Professional Responsibility should begin performing random theft audits because they will help catch bad actors who take property during the audits and will positively alter behavior even during times when audits are not occurring.
Source: Press Release