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Head Of TSA Reassigned After Tests Reveal Security Failures

A TSA agent waits for travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
David Goldman
A TSA agent waits for travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

After covert tests revealed major security failures, the acting director of the Transportation Security Administration has been reassigned.

In a statement, Jeh Johnson, secretary of homeland security, said Melvin Carraway will now work at the department's Office of State and Local Law Enforcement.

According to ABC News, the shuffle comes after covert tests conducted by the agency's inspector general found that TSA screeners at airports failed to detect prohibited items 95 percent of the time.

In a statement, Johnson does not confirm that number, saying the results of the tests are classified. However, he says, the department takes these results "very seriously."

Johnson goes on to issue a series of orders, including the retraining of all transportation security officers and an immediate change in some screening procedures the testing found to be problematic.

ABC News reports:

"[The inspector general found that] TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints, according to officials briefed on the report.

"In one case, agents failed to detect a fake explosive taped to an agent's back, even after performing a pat down that was prompted after the agent set off the magnetometer alarm, according to officials briefed on the report."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.