Transportation Security Administration
Cacoya Hal — an agent of the Transportation Security Administration — performs a security screening on Anita Collins at Washington National Airport. Source: Transportation Security Administration.

Bonuses and Awards of Almost $100,000.00 Prior to Failure of Finding Hidden Weapons?

“The assistant administrator since May 2013, Kelly Hoggan — who manages a workforce of 55,000 employees, including transportation security screeners at roughly 450 airports nationwide — kept his job and $183,000 salary. And, it appears, his year-end performance bonuses and special achievement awards, which he received from November 2013 to January 2015 and tallied about $96,000, according to the whistleblower complaint submitted to congressional investigators. Hoggan, who worked for the aviation industry before joining the TSA in 2004, had no comment, an agency spokesman said.”

Bonuses and Awards of Almost $100,000.00 Prior to Failure of Finding Hidden Weapons?

As the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Security Operations of the Transportation Security Administration, Hoggan was ultimately responsible for the lapses in security which resulted in the failure of screeners finding hidden weapons and fake explosives greater than 95 percent of the time during 70 covert tests at security checkpoints at eight airports in the United States, according to this article written by Andrew Becker of Reveal — from the Center of Investigative Reporting — and the tests were confirmed to have occurred from early April to mid-May by Arlen Morales, who was a spokeswoman at that time for the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security of the United States.

The findings were reportedly not surprising to current and former officials at the Transportation Security Administration, who claimed that “the security operations office had come to focus on efficiency and reduced wait times.”

With regard that the nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration will do something in response to what amounted to a significant embarrassment of the agency“And I can already anticipate the call for more funding, since in his testimony he blames failures on equipment rather than staff”, Gary Leff of View From The Wing wrote in this article pertaining to the new plan by the Transportation Security Administration to make screening less efficient. “Therefore they’ll need new equipment. And they’ll need more staff, to maintain it and to train staff to better use it.”

The combination of human blunder and failure of technology which was the foundation for the embarrassment — initiated by a complaint by a whistleblower — caught the attention of members of the House of Representatives and “set off a firestorm within the department,” resulting in a reassignment of Hoggan by Jeh Johnson, who is the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Becker implies in the aforementioned article that the findings were representative of security problems which were already known — but that this one “just happened to be leaked.”

The Latest in a Series of Problems and Issues

“Many of the problems in our agency seem to be traced to the unethical behavior of senior leadership and an unwillingness to hold them accountable,” Andrew Rhoades — an assistant federal security director in Minneapolis — said in an interview pertaining to a complaint of misconduct, inappropriate behavior and questionable personnel practices within the Transportation Security Administration. “But the more they get away with, the more it reinforces their beliefs they are untouchable.”

If this is true, then there needs to be further investigation pertaining to the practices of how business is conducted within the Transportation Security Administration — especially if those practices and behaviors are rewarded with taxpayer dollars and security fees.

As you may know, I have shared my thoughts about the Transportation Security Administration over the years here at The Gate, as a sampling of the content — listed below — attests:


Although I am usually more critical of the Transportation Security Administration than not, my experiences of passing through airport security checkpoints have been rather routine and uneventful overall. With very few significant and memorable exceptions — and even those exceptions are too many — I have been fortunate to pass through the traditional metal detection scanner rather than the invasive “pat-downs” or scanning devices which, in my opinion, reveal more about the physical aspects of a person than they should. The agents are usually polite to me, greeting me as I pass through the airport security checkpoint. I despise having to take off my shoes, but I carry disposable booties with me which I wear while my shoes are off — a somewhat reasonable compromise for me. I also despise having the liquids I transport limited in quantity and confined to some little bag in my carry-on bag, but I would rather do that than check my luggage, which I have not done in years…

…but that is more of a testament to the thankless jobs of the agents who represent the Transportation Security Administration at security checkpoints at airports throughout the United States than to the leadership of the beleaguered agency. There have been many people who have called for the abolishment of the agency altogether.

I have always believed that the Transportation Security Administration was hastily created in response to the events which occurred on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Rewarding poor leadership appears to be the latest in a series of inexcusable missteps of an agency which has yet to be led by someone who understands real, legitimate and effective security — and can do so at a reasonable cost while modeling the way with true leadership.

The question is: when will that day finally happen?

I had proposed a way where I can personally save the Transportation Security Administration up to two million dollars; but I still yet have to hear from them in response to my offer.

Perhaps more funding should be cut from the budget until the Transportation Security Administration finally gets its act together…

Cacoya Hal — an agent of the Transportation Security Administration — performs a security screening on Anita Collins at Washington National Airport. Source: Transportation Security Administration.

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