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TSA proposes firing 7 Philadelphia airport employees

By Jim Barnett, CNN
updated 8:50 PM EDT, Fri June 15, 2012
Seven TSA employees at Philadelphia's airport face losing their jobs after an internal investigation into alleged bribery.
Seven TSA employees at Philadelphia's airport face losing their jobs after an internal investigation into alleged bribery.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The TSA completes an eight-month investigation into bribery allegations
  • It says a training instructor accepted payment from test-takers to ensure they passed
  • Ten employees were suspended; three of those have resigned

(CNN) -- Seven Transportation Security Administration employees at Philadelphia International Airport face losing their jobs after an eight-month internal investigation into an alleged bribery scandal, the agency announced Friday.

The agency said it removed 10 employees from security duties last November pending the results of the investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

"Since that time, three of the employees involved have resigned from TSA and seven others have been notified of TSA's proposed action to terminate their employment," the agency said in a release.

According to the release, "a training instructor responsible for administering annual proficiency exams was found to have accepted payment from TSA security officers to ensure passing grades."

The training instructor pleaded guilty in February to a charge of bribery, the agency said.

"Any employee who willfully violates TSA rules will be held accountable for their conduct and appropriately disciplined," said Chris McLaughlin, the agency's assistant administrator.

This latest incident comes two weeks after 43 Transportation Security Administration workers in Florida were disciplined for not performing additional screening on random carry-on bags and passengers.

Last month, after a series of breaches at Newark Airport, a Homeland Security inspector general report found the agency is failing to adequately report, track and fix security breaches at airports. The agency responded to those incidents with "corrective action," according to the inspector general, but not all the problems received the same treatment.

"There's a TSA disaster every week, and the security meltdown gets more and more outrageous," said Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in a release put out by his office on Friday.

Mica, who has repeatedly called for privatizing Transportation Security Administration, said reforms "can't come soon enough." He added that hundreds of U.S. airports "still operate under the Soviet-style all-federal screening model."

The Transportation Security Administration said that upon learning about the bribery allegations in Philadelphia, it notified the inspector general and worked closely with law enforcement during the investigation.

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