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TSA Head Reassigned After Investigation Reveals Procedural Failings

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Big changes today at the Transportation Security Administration following a scathing report that found major security lapses in airport screening. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson reassigned the acting TSA administrator, Melvin Carraway, after an inspector general's report found that covert agents were able to get banned items through security checkpoints. ABC News was the first to report details of the inspector general's findings. NPR's David Schaper has more.

DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Undercover agents known as the Red Team look for vulnerabilities in the TSA's aviation security network. And according to media reports, those agents were able to smuggle items such as mock explosives and weapons through airport security checkpoints 67 out of 70 times.

JEFF PRICE: Those numbers are extraordinary.

SCHAPER: Jeff Price is a former top security official at Denver International Airport and now an aviation security expert at Metropolitan State University in Denver.

PRICE: Moving forward, the true test is going to be what will they do about it? And I think we should evaluate that response more than the failures that we've seen thus far.

SCHAPER: Price says in a post-September 11 world, it is critical that the TSA become more nimble and vigilant.

PRICE: Is it flexible enough to continue to evolve with new threats and still protect from the old threats, frankly?

SCHAPER: In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Johnson says in addition to replacing the acting administrator, the TSA is immediately revising screening procedures, increasing and intensifying training, retesting screening equipment, and he says Red Team agents will continue to conduct random covert testing to expose any security system flaws. David Schaper, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.
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