Undercover TSA Agent Finds Breaching Security Only A $100 Bribe Away

An undercover agent from the Transportation Security Administration recently found that invasive patdown procedures and controversial scanners still can’t close a surprising security hole -- an airline employee willing to take a bribe.

While testing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina in mid-November, the premise was a simple, yet inconceivable one -- to see if a bribe could get an unaccompanied package onto a flight. And all it took was a $100 for a security-challenged JetBlue ticket agent to accept the package and place it on a flight to Boston.

How did the agent do it? After being talked into the scheme by the undercover agent and pocketing the money, they simply attached the package to the name of a random passenger, an unaccompanied minor. After doing that, the harmless package sailed through security and was pulled just before being placed on the plane.

Thankfully, the agent is no longer with JetBlue. While obviously this isn’t a perfect way to “beat” security, as any package would still be screened for explosives, it is bothersome that the TSA could so quickly and easily find an airline employee willing to bypass security for a little extra cash.

And despite the beatings the TSA has taken from the public and media, it’s nice to see a focus on back-door security holes. Even though there was no comment on how often stings like this occur, I hope agency officials continue to pursue this type of security operation, while at the same time listening to the general flying public and making front-door security more hospitable.

Posted by Brent Dirks on Jan 19, 2011

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