A news channel’s investigation found that hundreds of TSA agents have failed drug and alcohol testing in airports around the country.
Over 858 TSA workers nationwide have tested positive for drugs and alcohol between 2010 and 2016, according to federal records obtained by KGW through the Freedom of Information Act.
The criteria for TSA drug tests are largely based on random sampling, though individuals can be tested under reasonable suspicion of being under the influence.
“Illegal substances include, but are not limited to, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine [PCP],” wrote TSA spokesman Nico Melendez in an email to KGW.
In 2016, of the 17,649 TSA random drug tests administered, 97 employees tested positive, which is still below the fail rate for other federal employees.
“To think that we are going to eliminate that entirely is an unreasonable expectation,” explained homeland security analyst Scott Winegar. “We can optimize what we expect from the screeners and we can optimize the people we select but I don’t think we are ever going to be able to have absolutely zero mistakes.”
According to a US House Homeland Security Committee report, “TSA employees have been criminally charged for using cocaine on the job, facilitating large-scale drug and human smuggling, and engaging in child pornography activities.”
The TSA terminates individuals found to have failed drug testing.
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