How effective is airport security? According to recent tests by The Department of Homeland Security, TSA agents failed 95 percent of safety tests.
Recently, Homeland Security’s Red Teams, which are undercover groups of investigators, posed as passengers to challenge the TSA’s safety standards and test the effectiveness of their routines.
Red Team agents found that the TSA failed 67 of 70 tests performed, in which investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through safety checkpoints.
In one test, an undercover was stopped by TSA agents after setting off a magnetometer alarm, but they failed to detect a fake explosive device taped to his back after both a screening and pat down.
To make matters worse, a recent audit reports that the TSA also failed to flag 73 airport workers with ties to terrorism.
The agency of course has a system for screening commercial airport workers, but only has access to a limited amount of terror-related information, making it easier for mistakes like this to happen.
The TSA doesn’t have access to the entire terrorist watchlist, and may not have an effective way of checking certain worker information including criminal history, legal work status and basic identification, CNN reports.
The White House responded to these findings, saying that Obama has confidence in the TSA despite the results of the Red Team’s tests.
“The president does continue to have confidence that the officers of the TSA do very important work that continues to protect the American people,” press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Officials representing Homeland Security insist that the nation’s airports are well protected with layers of security to enforce safe travel.
However, U.S. officials also admit that these results are disappointing and that changes have already been made at airports to address these vulnerabilities.