Dozens of TSA Officers Being Probed for Failing to Check Baggage

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More than two dozen TSA officers at the Honolulu International Airport are being investigated after security failures that could have allowed explosives to pass onto planes were allowed to continue for up to four months, reports a local ABC news station in Honolulu.

According to people familiar with the investigation, baggage that was supposed to be opened and checked for traces of explosives while passing through security at Honolulu's Lobby 4 during the morning shift was never examined. In some cases, TSA officers allegedly marked suitcases as having been screened when the baggage had not been inspected at all.

In a statement, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez tells the news outlet the agency "is taking appropriate disciplinary action against several TSA officers following an extensive investigation into allegations of improper screening."

"We took immediate action and none of the personnel accused have been conducting screening duties since the allegations were made," Melendez adds.

The 27 or so TSA employees under investigation worked at one of 12 baggage security screening areas at the airport, where over 750 TSA officers are employed. The flights that allegedly went unscreened account for roughly 12% of the overseas departures from Honolulu airport on an average day, says Daniel Meisenzahl, spokesman for the State Department of Transportation.

Sources say accused TSA employees have undergone lie-detector tests and officials will begin reviewing each of their files to determine their punishments, if any, today. Depending on the outcome of each of their disciplinary cases, the employees could be fired or suspended.

The news outlet reports a source close to the investigation says two Honolulu TSA employees tipped off officials to the problems. A source says managers were unaware of the inadequate screenings because TSA officers would always "do their screening work properly when management was present."

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