TSA: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

by Project Censored

The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is involved in theft. Here is a federal agency whose employees have been pocketing and profiting from other individual’s items. Unfortunately, this has been going on for the past decade without being addressed. The TSA hasn’t been doing enough to prevent its workers from theft and the public has suffered because of that.


Chuchmach, M., Kreider, R., & Ross, B. (2012, 27). ABCNews.com – Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News – ABC News. ABC News Tracks Missing iPad To Florida Home of TSA Officer – ABC News. Retrieved September 25, 2013. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/abc-news-tracks-missing-ipad-florida-home-tsa/story?id=17331937&singlePage=true
Chuchmach, M., Kreider, R., & Ross, B. (2012, 28). ABCNews.com – Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News – ABC News. Convicted TSA Officer Reveals Secrets of Thefts at Airports – ABC News. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
Pearson, M., Payne, E., & Marsh, R. (2013, 1). CNN.com – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Government report: TSA employee misconduct up 26% in 3 years – CNN.com. Retrieved September 25, 2013. http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/31/travel/tsa-misconduct/
Chuchmach, M. (2012, 23). ABCNews.com – Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News – ABC News. The Top 20 Airports for TSA Theft – ABC News. Retrieved September 26, 2013.  http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/top-20-airports-tsa-theft/story?id=17537887
Student Researcher: Montaser Huq, Indian River State College
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Indian River State College



Have you ever come home from the airport, unpacked your luggage, and realized some valuable items were missing? This has been an ongoing occurrence at airports all over America since 2003. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has workers who have the audacity to steal from peoples’ luggage. Not only is this unlawful, it violates numerous ethical standards. Safeguards must be implemented immediately to ensure that the public’s possessions are safe and secure.

Generally, people are supposed to feel safe with federal employees handling their valuables. However, in this case, the TSA officers are the ones who should be feared. Being under the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA’s standards should be above par. Unfortunately, they are not. The reason is due to the fact that the TSA does poor background checks on their employees. How the TSA functions is very peculiar compared to other federal organizations. For example, most banks make their personnel go through proper background, credit, educational, and previous employment checks. Something is obviously wrong if a federal organization fails to follow correct background check protocol, especially when their employees will be handling people’s private items. The lack of doing so implies the TSA doesn’t care about the privacy of people and their belongings.

The TSA claims it has fired almost 400 employees since 2003. The most firings occurred at Miami International, JFK International, and Los Angeles International. This means that theft was rampant at these airports. Pythias Brown, an ex TSA officer who worked at Newark Liberty International, looted over $800,000 worth of private goods. Mr. Brown was fired from the TSA, sent to prison for three years, and released. Yet, TSA theft is still on the rise. This is a direct correlation that shows firing and punishing alone has not prevented employees from theft. In fact TSA misconduct has increased 26% in the last three years. Other preventative measures must be taken to protect people’s privacy. For instance, the TSA should monitor the employees who are using the x-ray scanners, because Mr. Brown said they made it easy for him to spot valuable items. And the TSA should also hire qualified officers -who go through appropriate background checks to enforce the rules and observe the other workers.

To hear that the TSA has employees who steal from luggage is unacceptable. However, this unlawful and unethical activity has gone on for far too long and it’s time for the TSA to take action and start improving its security. It should dismiss the officers who steal, hire new employees who are cleared with the right background check procedures, and employ officers who will make sure the rules and regulations are followed. The TSA owes this to the American people whom it is supposed to be protecting.