An alarming new report weeks before the busiest air travel days of the year finds that TSA agents at airport checkpoints miss test weapons, explosives, and other contraband items most of the time. During an undercover operation, Department of Homeland Security inspectors "identified vulnerabilities with TSA's screener performance, screening equipment, and associated procedures," DHS says in a statement. While the specific findings are classified, CBS News reports the failure rate is more than 70%, while a source tells ABC News that 80% is "in the ballpark." That means the TSA has only improved slightly from its 95% failure rate in 2015, which led to a host of changes at the agency, including a new training academy for agents.
"America's enemies only have to be right once, while we have to be right 100%," said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, after he was briefed on the "disturbing" report Wednesday, per NBC News. After vowing to adopt eight undisclosed recommendations laid out in the report, TSA administrator David Pekoske responded that CT scan systems used for checked bags would provide a "significant enhancement" at checkpoints. He added, however, that the funding isn't there. "We have the technology and resources to do it but we're not doing it because ... we're paying for a wall," countered Rep. William Keating, a Democrat, who says that $1.28 billion in ticket surcharges is being diverted away from the TSA to pay the national debt.