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TSA workers disciplined for not rescreening bags and passengers

By Aaron Cooper, CNN Producer
updated 5:32 PM EDT, Mon June 4, 2012
Travelers go through a TSA checkpoint to make their flights at Reagan National Airport in Washington.
Travelers go through a TSA checkpoint to make their flights at Reagan National Airport in Washington.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 43 workers from Fort Meyers airport face firing or suspension
  • TSA says workers failed to rescreen randomly selected passengers
  • TSA employees reported the problem, spokesman says

Washington (CNN) -- Forty-three Transportation Security Administration workers in Florida are facing disciplinary action for not performing additional screening on random carry-on bags and passengers, according to TSA spokesman David Castelveter.

It happened over two months last year at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers.

Castelveter said 300 to 400 randomly selected people and their bags should have been given a secondary screening after passing through the initial security checkpoint but were not. All passengers received the initial screening.

About 3.8 million passengers were screened last year at the airport.

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Castelveter said the incident was reported by TSA employees and identified in an internal investigation.

"TSA holds all of its employees to the highest professional and ethical standards and has a zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace," he said in a statement. "Accountability is an important aspect of our work and TSA takes prompt and appropriate action with any employee who does not follow our procedures and engages in misconduct."

Under TSA labor rules, five workers face firing and 38 others may receive two-week suspensions, Castelveter said.

TSA agents have been brought in from other locations to ensure passenger safety, he said.

One congressional critic of the TSA said the incident is another in a string of TSA lapses.

"Recent meltdowns such as those in New York, Newark, Palm Beach, Honolulu, Charlotte and Los Angeles have become familiar," Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, said in a statement. "For example, TSA recommended firing 36 employees in Honolulu for improperly screening luggage, and 12 others in Charlotte (North Carolina) for similar reasons. In Newark, a total of 10 workers were fired or suspended for theft or sleeping on the job."

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