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Hundreds of TSA workers failed drug, alcohol tests at airports across U.S.

A KGW investigation found hundreds of Transportation Security Administration workers have failed drug and alcohol tests at airports around the country. Nationwide, 858 TSA workers tested positive for drugs or alcohol between 2010 and 2016, according to federal records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. ( Plus d'info...

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robert kennington 6
Screening passengers is important. Drug use makes those employees subject to blackmail. Don't make the opportunity for several synchronized and simultaneous jetliner explosive attacks easy. Americans shouldn't suffer these losers as paid employees. IMHO.
ken young 3
I find it ironic that the requirements for ICE agents, the people that guard our borders must have a college degree in one of the criminal sciences. They also must have law enforcement experience as a requirement to even apply for the job.
Yet, the DHS has no such requirement for personnel that guard our airports. Essentially doing the same thing as ICE agents. TSA agents should have the same pre employment requirements as ICE agents.
marylou anderson 1
Here! Here! Truer words can not have been ...written! It is beyond ridiculous the ignorance of SOME people who staff TSA @ our airports.
I have metal screws implanted in one ankle and also in my back--this written all over my TSA card.
2 of them have asked me to show them the implants--not kidding--pretty scary!
Mark Jackson 1
Because checking ID's and flight tickets is the equivalent of enforcing laws? Really?
Edward Bardes 4
If the airport handles flights that cross country borders, it'd be an immigration loophole if TSA agents weren't held to the same standards as ICE agents.
joel wiley 1
Perhaps the do the same as ICE in this limited set of circumstances. I don't recall any stories of TSA agents involved in raids looking for deportees.
Robert Huff 1
WE have heard of TSA employees "missing" loaded hand guns and even shuffling drugs and contraband thru the system as an extracurricular activity.. In Atlanta for sure.
Terry Clark 3
Let's test the house of reps and senators to see a comparison.
Richard Loven 2
Only 858. That's very few over a 6 year period.
It is hard to get good help. Another thing this is not a highly skilled job. "TSA Worker" is a Political Correct Title for former Gateguards, Night Watchmen etc. You are never going to have the Cream of the Crop performing this type of work.
Roger Curtiss 3
Exactly. The people doing this job are the same ones who did it for private firms until TSA handed them a shirt and said, "You are on our team now". The job has not changed-it remains incredibly, mind-numbing boring and repetitious making contact with passengers who abhor the inconvenience for the same low pay.
The good news is that since airport screening is for the most part 'security theater' to give the impression that the threat is being nullified, it does not much matter who does it.
toolguy105 1
858/12_143 a year still an insignificant amount considering the number of TSA agents. What is significant is they are a security force and 858 in 6 years or 143 in a year is to many considering what there primary duty is.

Every company has a problem with drugs an alcohol abuse it is a sign of the times. TSA needs to step up random testing to lower the number of addicts on the payroll. They also need to higher better people which means offering better pay and benefits then they currently do. This is a thankless job which requires dealing with aa public that thinks they are worthless to begin with.

Good customer service training is a must which means more than an hour or so in the training program. Strict enforcement of TSA Officers Knowledge of the rules so that they are enforced the same at JFK as they are at LAX. This policy alone will hopefully lower those who turn to drugs and alcohol to fend of the trial and tribulations of the work day.
Mark Dunn 2
It is with a certain irony that I send this on. In six years out of a work force of a current 60,000, eight hundred and fifty-some TSA workers tested positive for whatever. The headline is much more general and misleading, that for the slow thinker might lead to the conclusion that all TSA employees are on dope? Seems at least to me that nationally this number over six years is to be expected considering the general population?
Huffer 2
Bad enough to have to stand or strip for a sex pervert or pedophile but a drunk or hallucinating one is just too much! Common sense is missing for most of the sober ones not to mention the ones who would be more comfortable working in a bar!

I stopped flying the airlines many years ago because of the treatment I had to go through because of the metal parts and screens inside my body.
toolguy105 2
I haven't had reason to fly since 9/11. I have had reason to travel and did so by train, no hassle and right to down town. Traveling the Northeast Corridor always comes with delays by air. Check in 2 hours prior for a 1 hour flight then another two hours with baggage claim and trip down town, five hours of travel. Arrived at the train station fifteen minutes prior to train arriving. Acela two hours forty five minutes and a fifteen minute cab ride to the hotel. Saved a minimum of two hours and had greater comfort.
Mark Jackson 1
well bully for you. how does that help people who have to travel REAL distances? Or where train services are not available or are more costly? or when people don't have weeks to traverse the country?

Comparing the NE to any other part of the country is ludicrous, and proves nothing.
Mark Jackson 0
OK I"m confused why are Huffer, and toolguy105 on a site about Flying when they DON'T fly?
Joseph Cooney 2
Reinforcement: It ain't rocket science.
Ed Andrade 7
I am by no means a TSA "fan boy" but lets put this into perspective... 858 random workers tested positive over a 7 year period. That would be 122.6 per year on average, or .34 people per day out of an organization (company...) of 60,000 people. Yes it is bad and wrong for those 858 people to show up to work drunk or high, but statistically speaking it is a very small number of people in the big picture.
toolguy105 6
Statistics never lie but people can use them in many ways to justify their point as in this article. 858 people is a large number until put in its proper prospective then it becomes miniscule. Unfortunately most people will not take the time to reduce this number to a proper prospective and react as the writer expects them to . There are only a handful of people besides you and I who will do this before reacting. Good job.
Mark Lansdell 3
I'm no fan of drug use but testing positive does not mean the subject is high or even demonstrated use in the last 24 hrs. many more questions have to be asked.
Martin Haisman 3
Well said. Although no one should be at work toasted, statistics are easily thrown around without specifics. Wasted totally or traces of that Marley you smoked 5 days ago by state that has authorised cannabis. Flight regs 8 hours bottle to throttle but some people 8 is not enough and some can handle it and dissipate before morning. It's easy to bash the TSA but there are the ones that take pride in their work and keep sober and drug free.
Robert Huff 1
It is a Federal Job and not a state job thus the prevailing Federal Laws control. A stoner is a stoner is a stoner and 5 days between uses is not typical for one who test positive. Just sayin' I wouldn't want him guarding the "henhouse".
Ren Babcock 1
It doesn't say how many are tested a day. Just because it said "random" it doesn't necessarily mean the universe of those tested is large enough to be statistically significant.

Additionally are these surprise tests or are the individuals tipped off ahead of time? This is a quasi government agency and the person responsible for an airport would no doubt take some heat if the results indicated widespread drug use with his agents, so the possibility of "cheating" is there.

I will say your argument of 858 over 7 years for 60,000 people is valid. If of course, that is exactly what happened.
linbb -4
Guess that you don't get the big picture there should be NO ONE showing up with any of that in there system. It puts everyone around them at risk. If you think otherwise work at
a job say rigging for cranes, how would you like someone who was not 100% running it? NOT and that is why there should have been 858 employees gone the day they failed the test.
Get over your self and think about it before making such a statement.
John Speranza 7
I guess you don't get the big picture that your view of reality isn't reality at all. Get over yourself, and think before making a statement that will never be true.
Ed Andrade 9
Wow, someone missed part of my comment where I clearly stated it wasn't right for those people to show up to work in that condition! And if you read the article it did state that those people were terminated. My point is that people are people, they make mistakes and make poor decisions. So the fact that out of that large of a group over that period of time such a small percentage tested positive is a good thing. And if you think 100% of people who work on rigging for cranes show up to work 100% of the time clean and sober you are sadly mistaken. So why don't you get over yourself before trying to jump on someone else.
joel wiley 2
How do these stats compare with professional groups such as pilots, flight attendents, ground crews and ATC personnel?
ken young 0
What difference does that make? A violation of the rules is just that. Its in the employee contract. Fail the test and you're punished.
Quite frankly, those that failed the tests should have been released from their employment immediately and without discussion.
Thats how it works in the private sector.
joel wiley 2
Is this population's failure rate different from the populations I mentioned, or the general population? I don't disagree with discharge of violators, but the question is whether TSA has a greater problem with drug use that elsewhere.
Joseph Stalin is reputed to have said "one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic"
Robert Huff 1
Well I just want to know if they still have jobs with TSA? 2010 to 2016? Those were the kinder, gentler years, with less rigor in places where it should be required and NEEDED...
Scott Wiggins 1
TSA is another Bush was merely the latest addition to Club Fed where diversity is more important than competence. Yeah, I went there and I know its not the subject at hand. I wouldn't let most of what passes for TSA walk my should be disbanded.
Tim Baker 1
To put this another way, substance use is widespread throughout our society.
Robert Huff 1
So we would make excuses, forgive and forget because "everybody does it".. Not a good reason or defense.
Tim Baker 0
Well no, how do you find usage re. work related vs private usage? After addiction takes hold the 2 places converge. Alcohol has been the bane of employers for 1000's of years, now add meth, coke and opiates, the game is rampant. So you replace an employee with another, what are the odds of not gaining anything?
Tom Williams 1
It's a shitty job, these people are not rocket scientist, it's known that when they test for illegal things going through the system they miss a lot. As far as the drug tests I have mixed feelings about them. Pot ( which I don't use) stays in your system for weeks, long after the "high". Other drugs like crack, meth, coke, alcohol and heroin are purged from the system relatively fast. Personally I'd feel a lot safer being screened by someone who smoked pot in the last week as opposed to someone who did some of the latter drugs yesterday. But the pot smoker would fail a drug test and the harder drug users could pass drug tests a day later.
John Korey 1
Go figure. TSA, at best security theatre, most often a loss of freedom. What a waste of tax payers money.
Eddie Gist 1
Test at beginning of Shift
scott8733 1
I read the entire article. The most remarkable statement made was the .55 percent failure rate was "well below" that of other federal employees.

At least we have that much going for us (end of sarcasm)
Mark Lansdell 1
liars figure and figures lie. these numbers mean nothing as presented.
joel wiley 2
Mark Twain's categories of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
steve jenney 0
Now really does that surprise anyone? These are glorified SECURITY GUARDS who are among the laziest and careless workers in the world. AND THEY GET TO FONDLE PEOPLE WITH AMMUNITY!
mzahrte 8
What's "AMMUNITY"?
joel wiley 9
Immunity before noon?
Patrick Keohane 2
I just laughed out loud at this response!

Sounds like something George Carlin would have said.
Charles OBrien 5
Judge much? You cast a pretty wide net for someone that has so much trouble with spelling.
Robert Huff 1
Maybe he meant with impunity?
joel wiley 1
Grammar issues remain unmentioned.
terry gersdorf 1
so give him a C for grammar he is right
Robert Huff 1
Deep and depends on his intent?
terry gersdorf 1
So right
Tim Baker 1
The job requirements for both ICE agent or Night Watchman do not predict substance use.
terry gersdorf 0
This doesn't surprise me thats why this so needs to go private
John Tinney 2
Because people who work for private companies don't drink or smoke pot.
Mark Jackson 3
No Because they can be fired more quickly; DUH.
Peter Maas 0
I learned one thing: If it looks good and feels good the knife will show up and you will meet your maker.
Walter Jones 0
Alcohol is still a legal drug, so unless it was within some defined window of service (as pilots have) or they were in bad shape, I would not think this is disqualifying.

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