a Convicted TSA Officer discusses the Culture of Indifference

A convicted TSA officer grants an interview and discusses how he became a part of a “culture of indifference” that evolved into a 4 year crime spree selling stolen items on ebay which only ended because “It became so easy, I got complacent” and he forgot to remove some identifying stickers on the stuff he sold.

TSA’s Blogger Bob says “We are well too aware of how the actions of a few can influence the perception the public has of our agency. It’s truly a shame, because the majority of our workforce meets the expectations set forth to them – integrity, professionalism and hard work.”  — those are some pretty heavy words i’d find difficult attaching to video clerk rejects and failed pizza delivery drivers, but hey, that’s me.

Blogger Bob goes on to “help us grasp” just how small the problem of TSA theft is … “between May 1, 2003 through September 2012, a total of 381 TSOs have been terminated for theft, which represents less than 1/2 of one percent (0.4%) of officers that have been employed by the agency”.  Of course, i have to wonder, is that number so low because their employees are honest, or is it because they don’t actively investigate all claims of theft?  hmm.

In the interview, the agent continued:

Assigned to screen luggage behind the ticket counters, Brown said he often worked alone, was told when overhead surveillance cameras to prevent theft were not working, and was never asked about suspicious behavior. “It was so easy,” said Brown, “I walked right out of the checkpoint with a Nintendo Wii in my hand. Nobody said a word.”

He said he soon learned how to read the X-ray scans to find the most valuable items to steal. “I could tell whether it was cameras or laptops or portable cameras or whatever kind of electronic was in the bag,” Brown said.

At the time of his arrest, Brown was offering for sale some 80 cameras, video games and computers on his personal eBay page. “It was like being on drugs, it was,” he told ABC News. “I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ but the next day I was right back at it.”

Brown described one instance when he got a tip off about complaints from passengers about thefts. “One gentleman that used to work in the office one day came to me and said, ‘They were talking about you in the office. Be careful.’ I said, ‘Okay.'”

So, what is it? a “Zero Tolerance” to theft and only a few bad apples? or is it a “Culture of Indifference” that encourages selfish behavior such as stealing?

sources:

Convicted TSA Officer Reveals Secrets of Thefts at Airports
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/convicted-tsa-officer-reveals-secrets-thefts-airports/story?id=17339513&singlePage=true

TSA Has Zero Tolerance on Theft – iPad Theft
http://blog.tsa.gov/2012/09/tsa-has-zero-tolerance-on-theft-ipad.html

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