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TSA harassment allegations probed

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Updated 3:06 p.m. ET
Homeland Security Department investigators plan to visit Transportation Security Administration workers in Orlando and Tampa next week as part of an ongoing review of allegations of harassment against gay, lesbian and African American workers there, according to e-mails obtained by The Federal Eye.

The department's Office of Inspector General started looking into the allegations last October and they gained national attention when CNN reported in January about managers at the Orlando field office of the Federal Air Marshals Service who used a crew assignment board resembling the "Jeopardy!" game show to ridicule and keep score on women, gays and minorities.

Lawmakers have heard little about the investigation since it launched, according to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

"Several credible sources with direct, firsthand evidence into this matter recently contacted my staff," Issa wrote last week in a letter to DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner. "They expressed serious concerns about the sufficiency and expediency of [the Transportation Security Administration's Office of Inspection] investigation. In particular, these witnesses have advised they have not been contacted by OI or by your office. This is puzzling."

Within hours of Issa's letter, inspectors e-mailed TSA and Air Marshals employees in the Orlando and Tampa region announcing plans to visit next Monday through Friday.

"We will conduct site visits in other FAMS field offices across the country during the next several months," the e-mail said. "We are interested in any information, concerns or ideas you would like to contribute to this inspection." Investigators plan to probe allegations from workers in Cincinnati, Congressional aides said.

The e-mail promised to maintain workers' anonymity if necessary.

Paul Wood with the DHS inspector general's office said in an e-mail that "It is our policy not to comment on our ongoing reviews."

Though the agency employs about 40,000 people, at least a half dozen workers have prompted embarrassing headlines for TSA since January, including officers who beat a co-worker, acted erratically in public and stole money from a wheelchair-bound passenger.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | July 7, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Oversight, Workplace Issues  
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"inspectors e-mailed TSA and Air Marshals employees in the Orlando and Tampa region announcing plans to visit next Monday through Friday. "

Nothing like warning the poor performing, ill-behaved TSA employees of an inspection to come and have the board removed before they get there!

What a joke!

Posted by: patmatthews | July 7, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

When I read the headline before the jump I thought: "wow, the TSA is finally going to look into the horrible things being done to passengers by TSA personnel at Philadelphia International."

No such luck...

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | July 7, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Is this the TSA or the TEA ... as in TEA Party?????????

Posted by: bs2004 | July 7, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

The best thing an investigation could lead to is to eliminate the TSA. The actions of the few that have been reported are reflective of the entire TSA organization. This is just another 'no result' government agency operated by small minded people formerly lucky to have a job and now play authority by rummaging through luggage and harrassing the public traveler.
and they get the lucrative government benefit package only to get worse when they unionize.
Travelers are delayed, harrassed and abused by this waste of taxpayer's money and it has gotten continually worse.

Posted by: doug39 | July 7, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Those in charge should be fired and new ones appointed. When the investigation is completed and if the allegations are verified those in charge at those locations should be fired.

There is too much sweeping things under the carpet being done.

Posted by: reiley | July 7, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Went through Newark yesterday from Heathrow. Lazy, rude, TSA incompetents almost caused us to miss our connecting flight to Charlotte. Is the only gear they have slow or is it stupid. They add nothing to security as I forgot to bring out my 1 qt bag and nobody picked it up. No help, no use and no need for TSA. Pathetic.

Posted by: beachguy43 | July 7, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

This is the primary reason that the screeners act the way they do is it comes down from the top. This harrasment has been going on since the begining at BWI in May 2002. No one at TSA seems to care and neither do congress. All it has become is a work project inorder to keep the unemployment numbers a little lower. It is all smoke and mirrors. The worker bees get beat up by management and then they take it out on the passengers. There are good managers but they condone what the bad ones do so they are as bad too. They all must go and start over.

Posted by: howierd1 | July 11, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

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