Newark Airport TSA Get Low Marks on Internal Report
If you’ve ever showed up at an airport security checkpoint with more than the allowed amount of liquid – three ounces in any one container — still in your carryon bag or make-up case, you’re not alone.
And if you’ve managed to get through that checkpoint without having those liquids confiscated, you’re not the exception.
An internal Transportation Security Administration report accessed by New Jersey’s Star-Ledger newspaper found that at Newark Liberty International airport, agents take appropriate action on prohibited items in only a quarter of all cases.
And it’s worse news when it comes to pat-downs: The report found agents properly executing standard pat-downs of passengers only 16.7 percent of the time. When it came to informing passengers of their right to opt out of a full-body scan in favor of a pat-down, the agents did not inform passengers even once.
The newspaper said the report was dated June 8 and was titled PACE Airport Evaluation. It compiled by “an undercover team of Transportation Security Administration employees from other airports who were asked to observe screeners at work at Newark Liberty.”
PACE is an acronym for Presence, Advisements, Communication and Execution. Observers who participate are TSA agents from other airports. It’s used at the nation’s largest airports to measure the level of standardization.
The program is designed to help improve TSA levels of customer service and performance. Other organizations, including airlines, have used similar programs.
But it’s not all bad news for EWR’s TSA agents. The agents were observed removing prohibited items during physical searches and exhibiting good listening skills 100 percent of the time.
In a statement to ABC News, TSA said, “TSA is an agency that evaluates its workforce constantly with an eye toward continuous improvement. PACE evaluation is designed to be a ‘snapshot in time’ to assess various areas of passenger interaction. TSA uses the results as a guide to educate its workforce on areas where its employees are strong and areas where it can improve.”
The report comes to light on the heels of an ABC News investigation on TSA theft. ABC News reported in September that a convicted TSA security officer says he was part of a “culture” of indifference that allowed corrupt employees to prey on passengers’ luggage and personal belongings with impunity, thanks to lax oversight and tip-offs from TSA colleagues.
“It was very commonplace, very,” said Pythias Brown, a former TSA officer at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey who admits he stole more than $800,000 worth of items from luggage and security checkpoints over a four-year period.
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