General Accounting Office Report: Private Screeners Were More Thoroughly Tested Than Federal Screeners

Airport security screeners became federal employees, ostensibly because we couldn’t trust the quality of private contractors. But it turns out that under the old private system, the FAA ensured greater quality control than the TSA now does with federal screeners.

    The federal government isn’t testing the skills of airport security screeners as thoroughly as it did before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and needs to develop a recurrent training program, according to an investigative report issued Wednesday.

    The General Accounting Office report found that the Transportation Security Administration, which hired more than 55,000 airport screeners nearly a year ago, “collects little information regarding screener performance in detecting threat objects.” The agency’s covert team, which tries to determine whether weapons can get through a checkpoint, performs fewer tests than the Federal Aviation Administration conducted before the terrorist attacks. The agency also does not use a software program that tests screeners’ ability to identify weapons on the X-ray machines, according to the report.


    In November 2004, airports will be allowed to apply to return to a screener workforce that is employed by private firms rather than the TSA. Several airports, according to Airports Council International, have already expressed an interest because of frustration with the way the government has handled staffing.

But why do they have to wait until the Presidential election?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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