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Officials Say TSA's Ability to Find Weapons Is 'Pathetic'

Up to 95% of bombs and weapons made it through screenings during undercover tests
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2015 5:41 PM CST
Officials Say TSA's Ability to Find Weapons Is 'Pathetic'
On Tuesday, lawmakers called the TSA's ability to find weapons and explosives during airport screenings "horrific."   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(Newser) – Sure we have to take off our shoes and submit to privacy-invading body scans, but at least the TSA is keeping us safe while we travel. Er, not so much, it turns out. On Tuesday, lawmakers with the House oversight committee trashed the TSA's ability to detect contraband during undercover tests, Ars Technica reports. "In looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in these covert testing exercises it really was pathetic," one congressman said. "When I say that I mean pitiful." A classified report leaked in May found that 67 out of 70 government investigators posing as travelers got through screenings with weapons and fake explosives at nearly all of the country's busiest airports, according to the Hill.

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One government official blamed the results on technology, procedures, and just plan human error, Ars Technica reports. "We found layers of security simply missing," he told the committee. According to the Hill, one lawmaker pointed out the TSA has actually gotten worse at finding dangerous items since tests eight years ago, despite adding 16,000 new screeners. And as if that wasn't bad enough, a report this week found the TSA is adopting new technologies before first making sure they'll actually be effective. Ars Technica reports the TSA is going to review its entire system, retrain screeners, and look into using dogs to search passengers. According to the New York Post, it will also now measure performance by how many banned items it finds rather than how long passengers are waiting. (Read more TSA stories.)

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