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TSA officers arrested by police for dealing in stolen goods

September 16, 2013
J. D. Heyes
Source …..

TSA-Security-Search-Luggage-AirportWhether it’s because of poor vetting, extremely low standards, substandard pay or a combination of all these elements and others, the Transportation Security Administration has become little more than a criminal laughing stock. Born from the USA Patriot Act with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security following the 9/11 attacks, the TSA as an agency has been involved in scandal after scandal, as scores of its “officers” have been involved in a host of criminal behavior.

The latest example comes from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, where authorities have arrested at least two TSA officers “in a police sting operation involving stolen parking passes,” NBCDFW reports. There could be dozens of others involved as well, said the report.

From the news affiliate’s initial report:

Sources familiar with the probe said it started several months ago with an undercover investigation by the airport’s Department of Public Safety. Investigators found an American Eagle worker had stolen 100 parking passes for employee parking lots and recruited TSA officers to sell the passes to co-workers for $100 apiece, the sources said.

Issue the obligatory apologies – then move on

According to a person familiar with the investigation, there may be as many as 20 TSA officers suspected of either buying or selling the passes, while another source said as many as 40 could be involved.

It was not immediately clear whether or not the airline employee also had been arrested, NBCDFW reported.

Carrie Harmon, a TSA spokeswoman, did not answer questions about the arrests but instead referred them to airport officials. The agency was good enough to release the obligatory statement, however, saying essentially that the TSA was cooperating with the investigation and that the agency doesn’t tolerate any form of criminal behavior, eight employees were put on indefinite suspension without pay, blah, blah, blah.

Also, officials with American Eagle airlines issued a similar obligatory statement: “American Eagle has a zero-tolerance policy for this type of activity. We have worked closely with the DFW Airport Department of Public Safety to investigate this matter. The individual involved is no longer employed by American Eagle.”

NBCDFW reported that TSA employees, even part-timers, are required to pay $102 a quarter to park in one of two employee parking lots (itself a pretty crappy policy, but I digress). The stolen passes allegedly sold for $100 and allowed the holder to park in the lots for one year.

As I mentioned, though, this is far – far – from the first time the TSA has gotten bloodied by the behavior of its employees and officers. In fact, this happens so often that it might even be part of the application process.

“For an agency that claims to have ‘zero tolerance’ for criminal behavior, TSA agents sure spend a lot of time declaring their guilt,” wrote Christopher Elliot at The Huffington Post in February 2012.

This agency needs to go away

He goes on to rattle off a litany of TSA agent and officer abuses:

— The $5,000 that screener Alexandra Schmid “allegedly” stole (it was all caught on videotape) from a passenger’s jacket as he was going through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport;

— The $40K that Coumar Persad and Davon Webb took from a piece of luggage in 2011;

— The $30,000 that TSA supervisor Michael Arato and screener Al Raimi stole from luggage at the airport in Newark;

— Randy Pepper, who confessed to receiving money and jewelry from the luggage he was inspecting, including sterling silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings, in 2010.

There are many more examples, such as when TSA agents feel up young girls and even babies; when they pat down old men and women in wheelchairs; when they single out the really hot babes for “extra scrutiny,” or when they make full-bosomed women repeatedly pass through the full-body scanners.

The TSA is not just an embarrassment, it has morphed into a criminal enterprise that serves as little more than a government “compliance” agency. That the agency should be disbanded and airport security handed over to private companies is an understatement.


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