CBS News: DHS study indicates those annoying TSA searches failed to find test weapons 70% of the time

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Published by: Robert Laurie on Thursday November 09th, 2017

Feel safe yet?

If you flew in the 1970's, 1980's, or 1990's, you remember a very different airport experience than the one we endure today.  You remember getting on a plane without taking off your shoes.  You remember breezing through a relatively quick metal detector.  You remember walking off a plane to find your loved ones waiting for you in the terminal.  If you're a little bit older, you might even remember a time where there was essentially no security at all.  You just took your ticket to the desk, checked your luggage, and had a cigarette in the airport bar.

Some of that convenience was stripped away incrementally but, after 9/11, things really changed.  These days, no one can wait for you, you have to take off your shoes, stand in the giant x-ray box, put all your gear in 3-4 different bins, and watch helplessly as TSA agents grope your wife, your child, or your grandmother for no apparent reason.

"But, what the heck," you say. "As long as they're making me safe."

Yeah. About that.

Back in 2015, a Department of Homeland Security study revealed that TSA agents had failed to detect "test weapons" a staggering 96% of the time. We reported on it here. Thanks to that dismal result, the TSA was given more money, initiated a department wide re-training effort, and implemented new, even more annoying, procedures.

And now, the results are in.  The next time you fly, you can do so with complete confidence that, almost 30% of the time, screeners were able to detect a test weapon being smuggled onto your plane. The other 70% of the time?  Have a $14 Bloody Mary and try not to think about it.

From CBSNews:

An undercover operation has revealed that Transportation Security Administration screenings at airports fail for the most part.

Homeland Security investigators found that, more than 70 percent of the time, undercover officers were able to get through TSA checkpoints with mock knives, guns and explosives, the House Homeland Security Committee was told Wednesday. Just two years ago, testing found a 95 percent failure rate, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.

"We found that briefing disturbing," said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The DHS Office of Inspector General made eight classified recommendations based on the undercover operation. In a statement, the TSA said it took the "OIG findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints."

We're sure the slight improvement will be of great comfort the next time you're asked to "please step over here."

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