Congressmen Call for Probe of Honolulu TSA After Failure to Inspect Baggage

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Congressman John L. Mica of Florida and Jason Chaffetz of Utah called on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate TSA lapses at Honolulu International Airport in the most recent chapter of a safety debacle at one of the busiest airports in the U.S.

The two congressmen, who have both been openly critical of the TSA, stated in a letter the AP obtained that the Department of Homeland Security must determine why dozens of TSA screeners at the Honolulu airport “dramatically failed” to properly inspect baggage. The letter comes about two weeks after the TSA announced the results of its six-month investigation into agents who failed to follow proper procedures during a recurring shift in the last few months of 2010.

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The TSA recommended that 36 screeners, including two top officials, be fired in addition to another 12 agents who were suspended for up to 30 days. The move is the single largest personnel action for misconduct in the agency’s history. Those agents who are facing termination, however, remain on paid leave while the firing process continues because TSA employees who are threatened with firing have the chance to appeal.

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Congressman Mica chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure committee while Chaffetz chairs the National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations subcommittee. According to Mica’s spokesman Justin Harclerode, the Congressman has long urged airports to use private, contracted screeners that are supervised by the TSA.