Just in time for the summer travel season comes this admonition from a Transportation Security Administration official from the Kansas Office of Security Operations: “(M)ake no mistake about it, we remain an agency in crisis.”

Dozens of TSA employees went before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week to blast what they called poor leadership, lack of oversight, low morale and a culture of widespread retaliation. Clearly those on the lookout for potential terrorists cannot watch very well if they’re constantly looking over their own shoulders.

Mark Livingston, a program manager with the TSA’s office of risk management, likened the situation to the “Lord of the Flies” — “either attack or be attacked.” He said he was demoted two pay grades (about $10,000) for reporting instances of sexual harassment, hazing and security violations, according to The Washington Times.

The employees’ complaints would explain why the nation’s purveyor of airport security, with an exceptionally low threshold for criticism, is losing about 103 screeners weekly through attrition, according to committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

In the private sector, dysfunctional supervisors are shown the door. But change is painfully slow in a government bureaucracy stayed in its ways.

Nevertheless, this is a matter of national security. The TSA must root out the problem in its own ranks.


(c)2016 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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