Failure rate of US airport security screenings is higher than 70%

AVIATION SECURITY Most security screenings at US airports fail, an undercover investigation by Homeland Security officials has revealed. Undercover officers managed to pass through checkpoints with mock knives, guns and explosives undetected more than 70% of the time, the House Homeland Security Committee heard on Wednesday. However, the poor figures do at least represent a dramatic improvement on two years ago, when a similar investigation found a 95% failure rate.

We found that briefing disturbing, said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Having considered the implications of the latest findings, the DHS Office of Inspector General made eight classified recommendations. In a statement, the Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for airport security in the US, said it took the OIG findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints. The TSA wants to replace existing checkpoint scanners with CT scanners. New 3-D CT technology provides much greater delineation between objects in bags and security personnel can zoom in on, and spin an image, for a 360-degree view. However, cost is a major barrier. To invest in the CT technology requires funding above what TSA currently has, TSA administrator David Pekoske told Congress. The TSA announced an additional $4 million investment in the technology after running a pilot programme this summer. American Airlines has contributed to the costs in order to accelerate deployment.

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