An investigation is underway of more than two dozen Transportation Security Administration officers at the Honolulu International Airport after security failures that could have allowed a terrorist attack on an airplane were allowed to continue for months, KITV 4 News has learned.
TSA employees told KITV 4 News thousands of checked bags were loaded onto flights at Honolulu?s airport in recent months without having been screened for explosives.
At least 27 TSA officers on the morning shift in Honolulu?s Lobby 4 are accused of not properly searching checked baggage before it was loaded on planes, sources said.
Baggage there was supposed to be opened up and checked for traces of explosives, but sources said many pieces of luggage were never checked. In some cases, TSA agents simply marked suitcases as having been screened when those checked bags had not been checked at all, according to people familiar with the investigation.
Sources said baggage checked on nine daily morning departures from Lobby 4 were not properly screened, a situation that could have lasted as long as four months, meaning thousands of suitcases went unchecked.
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez released a statement to KITV 4 News that said the agency "is taking appropriate disciplinary action against several TSA officers following an extensive investigation into allegations of improper screening."
"We took immediate action and none of the personnel accused have been conducting screening duties since the allegations were made," Melendez said. ?TSA is proud to hold our workforce to the highest ethical standards and will not tolerate a deviation from the commitment to carry out our mission to protect the traveling public.?
The Rogers family from Cape Cod, Massachusetts checked in at Honolulu's Lobby 4 Tuesday night for a trip home on Delta Airlines. They were concerned when a reporter told them about the investigation.
?It?s a little nerve-wracking. Thanks a lot,? said Andrew Rogers, as his wife Michelle and two children prepared for a flight to Atlanta that connected to Boston. "We put a lot of faith in our TSA employees and it would be a shame, and scary for us, frankly, to find out that it wasn't being done the right way."
No improprieties have been reported about security screening at Honolulu airport?s passenger security checkpoints, where TSA officers check carry-on bags and passengers for potentially dangerous material before they board flights.