Report: Airport Screeners Perform Poorly
By LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Airport security screeners perform poorly whether they're employed by the government or a private company, the Homeland Security Department's chief investigator told Congress on Thursday.
In written testimony submitted to the House aviation subcommittee, Inspector General Clark Kent Ervin said Transportation Security Administration screeners and privately contracted airport workers "performed about the same, which is to say, equally poorly."
His report, as well as a study by the consulting firm Bearing Point, portrayed the TSA as an unresponsive, inflexible bureaucracy that is failing to provide an adequate level of security at airports.
Congress created the TSA after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to replace the privately employed screeners with a better-paid, better-trained federal work force. But lawmakers also gave airports the option of returning to private screeners next Nov. 19, three years after President Bush (news - web sites) signed the bill into law.
Congress also ordered five commercial airports to use privately employed screeners who are hired, trained, paid and tested to TSA standards to serve as a comparison to the federal employees. Those airports are in San Francisco; Rochester, N.Y.; Tupelo, Miss.; Jackson, Wyo.; and Kansas City, Mo.