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TSA reprimands bag screeners over job performance at Boston airport

By Aaron Cooper, CNN
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Wed August 29, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The TSA action affects a total of 20 checked-baggage screeners
  • The screeners work at Boston's Logan International Airport
  • The TSA is moving to fire six of the screeners and suspend the other 14
  • Job performance is the issue, an agency spokesperson says

(CNN) -- The Transportation Security Administration is in the process of firing six checked-baggage screeners and suspending 14 others at Boston's Logan International Airport.

The workers were all responsible for screening baggage in one of the 10 screening rooms in the airport, a TSA spokesperson who could not be identified due to the sensitivity of personnel actions told CNN.

The six people the agency has proposed firing did not always send bags that needed a secondary screening to agents in another room to perform those inspections, the spokesperson said.

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The 14 workers, including two managers, who the agency proposed suspending allegedly did not pay complete attention to the screening machines. They allegedly read newspapers or talked on the phone while they worked, or did not report the behavior.

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The suspensions are slated to last three to 14 days and will be unpaid.

The alleged misconduct was discovered by a routine internal review, and additional investigations showed it was not happening in the other baggage inspection rooms at the airport, the spokesperson said.

"All TSA employees are held to the highest standards of conduct and accountability. These standards are critical to our work and TSA's commitment to the safety of the traveling public," read a TSA statement provided to CNN by another agency spokesman, David Castelveter.

No security incidents were found related to any of the bags that should have been physically inspected, and the first agency spokesperson noted there are additional layers of security besides the inspections.

The employees recommended for termination or suspension have the right to appeal under TSA employment rules. Those who complete a suspension will undergo retraining.

TSA agents assigned to a behavior detection unit in Boston were ordered to undergo intensive retraining after allegations earlier this month that they were targeting minorities for questioning based on their race or ethnicity.

The baggage screening investigation was unrelated to the behavior detection unit, the spokesperson said.

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