November 26, 2012
A Freedom of Information Act request by ABC News has revealed the 20 U.S. airports where the most Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees have been fired for stealing from travelers.
Overall, nearly 400 TSA employees were fired for theft between the years 2002 and 2011. Of the airports ranked among the top 20 in firings, 16 were also among the 20 busiest in the country – although their rank in terms of passenger traffic did not always correspond to their rank in terms of TSA theft. Miami International Airport fired the most employees, even though it is only the 12th busiest airport in the country. And Salt Lake City International, Washington Dulles, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International and San Diego International all ranked among the top 20 in terms of firings, but are not among the country’s 20 busiest airports at all.
The top 20 airports in terms of firings for TSA employee theft were: Miami International Airport with 29, JFK International Airport with 27, Los Angeles International Airport with 24, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with 17, Las Vegas-McCarren International Airport with 15, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with 14, New York-Laguardia Airport with 14, Newark Liberty Airport with 12, Philadelphia International Airport with 12, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with 12, Orlando International Airport with 11, Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport with 10, Salt Lake City International Airport with 10, Washington Dulles International Airport with nine, Detroit Metro Airport with seven, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport with seven, Boston-Logan International Airport with six, Denver International Airport with six, San Diego International Airport with six, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport with five.
Between them, these 20 airports accounted for more than 63 percent of TSA theft-related firings nationwide.
“Honest” and “hard-working?”
ABC revealed the information on airport firings after conducting a test in which iPads were left behind at the security checkpoints of various major airports. Although the majority of the iPads were eventually returned, the one left behind at Orlando International Airport simply vanished. Two weeks later, ABC News employees used a tracking app to locate the stolen iPad at the home of one of the airport’s TSA employees.
Writing on Infowars.com, Adan Salazar said, “The agency told ABC that a majority of its workers are honest, hard-working individuals, but we are constantly bombarded with unbelievable stories regarding their sub-human treatment of passengers.”
“This month alone, we’ve been subjected to a deluge of TSA horror stories, such as a dying woman being forced to remove her bandages and having her IV bag full of saline solution broken in full public view, a TSA worker caught stealing $500 from travelers as retaliation for complaining, TSA confiscating cameras and deleting footage, an FBI employee coming forward with a TSA molestation claim, a frequent flyer recounting how the TSA smacked his testicles and more.”
Salazar also referenced the practice of TSA personnel at the Columbus, Ohio airport walking around and demanding to test passengers’ drinks that had been purchased beyond the security checkpoint, as well as a case where TSA employees “tested” passengers by spontaneously shouting, “Freeze!” at them.
In the case where a TSA employee was caught after stealing more than $500 in cash from a traveler, he admitted that he had done so to punish the passenger for insisting on a pat-down and objecting to having the procedure performed in a private room.
“While the TSA defends their workers as ‘honest, hard-working individuals,’ the fact remains that screeners often take it upon themselves to steal, lie, and dish out punishment and retribution for passengers who attempt to stand up for their rights,” Salazar wrote.
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