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Report: TSA screeners failed to detect most test weapons in undercover operation at airports

Transportation Security Administration Security Officer Nyamsi Tchapleu looks at images created by a 'backscatter' scanner at Ronald Reagan National Airport December 30, 2009 in Arlington, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

During a recent probe at U.S. airports by the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration screeners failed to detect test weapons more than half of the time, according to ABC News.

What happened?

The exact rate of failure has not yet been disclosed to the public, but ABC News reported that congressional and government sources with knowledge of the report said it was high.

When asked if the failure rate was 80 percent, one unnamed source replied, “You are in the ballpark.”

During a public hearing following a classified briefing about the report, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said, "Quite frankly, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we found that briefing disturbing."

What did the TSA say?

In a statement to NBC News, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said, "We take the OIG's findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints."

"We are focused on staying ahead of a dynamic threat to aviation with continued investment in the workforce, enhanced procedures, and new technologies," Pekoske said.

NBC News noted that in a 2015 investigation, screeners did not detect 95 percent of test items — including weapons and fake explosives as well as other contraband items — at numerous checkpoints.

One last thing…
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