UPDATE, 9:52 p.m. ET: Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced in a statement Monday night that the acting director of the Transportation Security Administration, Melvin Carraway, had been reassigned.
"I thank Melvin Carraway for his eleven years of service to TSA and his 36 years of public service to this Nation," Johnson said.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a statement Monday, responding forcefully after details of a "classified, preliminary briefing" finding security failures at U.S. airports were obtained by ABC News.
ABC News reported Monday that an internal investigation had revealed investigators were able to successfully smuggle fake explosives or prohibited weapons through Transportation and Security Administration checkpoints 95 percent of the time.
In one particular incident, an undercover investigator set off an alarm, but the TSA agent apparently failed during a pat down to find a mock explosive taped to his back, ABC News reported.
Johnson responded in a statement posted online Monday, noting the information was "classified" and "not appropriate or prudent to publicly describe" the results, but adding that he wanted to "more fully inform the public" of actions he was taking.
Johnson listed the following six specific steps:
First, I have directed TSA leadership to immediately revise its standard operating procedures for screening to address the specific vulnerabilities identified by the Inspector General’s testing.
Second, I have directed TSA to immediately brief the results of testing to the Federal Security Directors at every airport across the United States.
Third, I have directed TSA to conduct training for all transportation security officers, in a phased fashion, in airports across the country, and intensive training for all supervisory personnel to address the specific vulnerabilities identified by the Inspector General’s testing.
Fourth, I have directed TSA, in phased fashion, to re-test and re-evaluate the screening equipment currently in use at airports across the United States. As a related matter, I personally intend to meet with senior executives of the contractors involved in the development of the equipment at issue to communicate to them the importance of their assistance in our efforts to investigate and remedy the deficiencies highlighted by the Inspector General.
Fifth, I am asking the Inspector General and TSA to conduct continued random covert testing to assess the effectiveness of these and other measures to improve airport security.
Sixth, I am appointing a team of TSA and DHS senior leaders to oversee and ensure timely implementation of these actions. I will remain personally engaged in this effort, and will ask the team to report its progress to me on a bi-weekly basis.
"Longer term, in the coming months, I have directed TSA to ensure that all screening equipment is operating up to the highest possible standards," he said. "I have also directed TSA and the Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology to examine adopting new technologies to address the vulnerabilities identified by the Inspector General’s testing."
"I continue to have confidence in the TSA workforce," Johnson concluded. "Last fiscal year TSA screened a record number of passengers at airports in the United States, and, at the same time, seized a record number of prohibited items. TSA and the Inspector General are constantly testing and adapting the systems we have in place as part of our commitment to aviation security."
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