TSA Sees Security Breaches Spike

Cases tripled from 2022, though TSA cautions most offenders don't have ill intent
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2024 12:10 PM CDT
TSA Sees Security Breaches Spike
Travelers are screened by Transportation Security Administration officers at LaGuardia Airport, May 27, 2016, in New York.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

No one likes going through airport security, but you probably like the idea of travelers sneaking through unchecked even less. It's a reality, though, according to the Transportation Security Administration, which says at least 300 people have bypassed airport security measures since March 2023, reports the Washington Post. Just 72 airport security breaches were reported in 2022 and 29 in 2019. "It is a larger number than we realized," says TSA spokesperson R. Carter Langston. However, the agency doesn't consider the cases to be full security breaches because offending passengers were eventually stopped or checked in some way.

One woman who avoided a travel document checker was able to fly from Nashville to Los Angeles without a ticket, though her bags did go through screening, per the Post. She was detained by the FBI upon arrival, and her case is pending. More than 200 people went the wrong way through exit-only lanes, while 80 avoided travel document checks. Though security isn't perfect, experts say airports and planes remain safe, per ABC News. Langston says the cases represent a drop in the bucket and the "vast majority [of offenders] do not seem to have evil intent." Some get tired of waiting, but others move wrongly by accident, are confused, or forgot something, according to TSA.

Still, the cases are concerning considering reports like this one, describing how TSA agents prevented a man from bringing a loaded gun past security at an airport in Virginia this week. The TSA makes no mention of people bypassing luggage checks. But any security breach is "a concern," counterterrorism expert Tom Mockaitis tells the Post. (The TSA is now testing self-screening checkpoints.)

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