By now I’m sure some of you have seen or heard reports in the media about a pair of Transportation Security Officers at Denver International Airport who were engaged in what can only be described as egregiously inappropriate behavior at the passenger screening checkpoint.
The two were caught because an alert employee noticed something was not right and reported it to TSA’s Office of Inspection Hotline. After a thorough investigation, including a review of closed-circuit television camera footage, the allegation was confirmed and the individuals were removed from duty and are no longer with the agency. They now potentially face local criminal charges as well.
This blatant violation of public trust by two individuals has significantly tarnished TSA’s reputation. Think about it – in an agency that employs more than 50,000 people, the irresponsible and potentially illegal behavior of just one or two reckless employees can severely and negatively impact the operational effectiveness of everyone else committed to carrying out our vital national security mission.
The vast majority of our employees act with the utmost integrity and professionalism every day, but unfortunately the conduct of a few can do significant damage to the entire workforce – and this damage is very difficult to overcome. We are committed to working very hard to prove ourselves to the public we serve in the months ahead to regain your trust.
Our mission requires that we initiate direct contact with the American people millions of times each day. In doing so we must learn from every incident and become better. The lone bright spot in this dark and disturbing behavior is that another employee saw what was going on and did not allow it to continue. Our workforce is strongly encouraged to report illegal or unethical behavior wherever and whenever they see it. Professionalism and integrity are at the core of who we are as counterterrorism professionals, and it is up to each and every one of us to demonstrate this with every passenger at every airport around the country. We must perform our work, for you the traveling public, with honor and pride. Anything less is a disservice and will not be tolerated.
Melvin J. Carraway