A new government report has found a surge in employee misconduct at the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with a 26 percent rise in reported incidents over the past three years.
TSA agents were cited in more than 9,600 cases of misconduct from 2010 to 2013, 1,900 of which were classified as security threats, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office released on Tuesday.
The report detailed cases of stealing from luggage, sleeping on the job, leaving work without permission, and allowing friends and relatives to bypass security screening procedures, among other incidents.
About 10 percent of complaints against TSA employees involved inappropriate comments or abusive behavior, the report said.
The GAO report highlights 56 cases in which TSA agents at airports across the US were caught stealing significant amounts of money and valuables from passengersâ„¢ baggage.
In one incident in 2011, an agent at Orlando (Fla.) International Airport stole over 80 laptops and other electronic devices worth a total of $80,000.
Two former TSA employees also admitted to stealing $40,000 from a passengerâ„¢s luggage at New Yorkâ„¢s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The report also cites one case of a TSA agent who tried to carry a relativeâ„¢s bag past security without screening. The bag was later found to have contained “numerous prohibited items.”
Lawmakers criticized the TSA on Wednesday over the increased cases of misconduct.
“It’s disgraceful,” said Rep. John Mica, Republican from Florida who called for the GAO report, at a congressional hearing. “People don’t show up for work, there’s a great cost to the taxpayers and great disruption.”
Å“Thereâ„¢s not even a way to properly report some of the offenses, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg of some of the offenses,” the lawmaker commented.
The report also finds that punishments meted out for TSA agents are often not consistent with the seriousness of their misconduct.
Republished from: Press TV