They're good at finding dead bears, live snakes, and even human skulls, but what TSA agents don't find enough of are the fake explosives and weapons that undercover Homeland Security agents tried to smuggle past them. The results were downright dismal: TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests—that's 95% of them—conducted by Red Team operatives, agents posing as passengers who devised the most devious ways to sneak items past the screeners, ABC News reports. The testing dates haven't been revealed, officials briefed on a "recent" Homeland Security IG report say, but ABC notes that Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson was said to be so "frustrated" by the findings that he demanded a meeting last week at TSA headquarters.
According to the TSA Blog, the agency had a "busy year" in 2014, checking out more than 653 million passengers and finding more than 2,200 firearms. But Red Team members—once described by a TSA administrator as "super terrorists" familiar with every weakness—got around security in astounding numbers. One undercover agent set off a magnetization alarm but still got through with a fake explosive taped to his back, even after a follow-up pat-down. Meanwhile, a DHS statement says some vulnerabilities have been addressed: "Upon learning the initial findings, Secretary Johnson immediately directed TSA to implement a series of actions, several of which are now in place." (TSA agents did find a mother lode of weapons, ammo, and drugs one woman tried to smuggle in cat litter.)