The investigation was carried out by NBC Washington. According to the group’s description, its purpose is to “encourage dialogue and facilitate networking for current and former employees of the Transportation Security Administration.”
In one post on the group's page, a TSA employee, who appears to work at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, wrote, “F**king idiots of the world making my job harder. I hope your plane blows up.”
In another post, a member of the group wrote, “How the f**k do these passengers wake up and get themselves dressed in the morning and make it to the airport without getting themselves killed? Cause these people are pretty f**king stupid.”
“OMG, I need to buy a Lotto ticket! We just screened a whole group of Chinese tourists without having to call a single bag check!” another user wrote.
According to a spokesperson for the TSA, the agency does not monitor the page, and it is “not affiliated with TSA.” However, they added: “The Code of Conduct for TSA employees provides that an employee’s off-duty internet use must not adversely reflect on TSA or negatively impact its mission, cause embarrassment to the agency, or cause the public and/or TSA to question the employee’s reliability, judgment, or trustworthiness.”
Former TSA employee Monica Stoddard, who worked at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, for 11 years, said that there is a worker morale problem at the agency.
“The morale wasn’t a good one,” she told NBC Washington. “[Workers] don’t have an outlet to say what’s going on and speak their minds.”
According to a March 2019 audit by the US Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, the TSA needs to “continue to improve its retention, hiring, and training of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs).” Many former employees have complained about low pay and unclear job expectations.
University of Maryland social media researcher Jen Golbeck told NBC that private social media pages are commonly used by public employees, and that while the pages initially start with “good intentions,” they ultimately tend to take a dark turn. “Then the slightly more extreme things start getting positive feedback. You can see that shift into really inappropriate spaces,” she said.
The latest revelation comes months after two TSA employees at Florida’s Miami International Airport in July were placed on administrative leave after they were found responsible for an offensive display, which depicted two stuffed gorillas hanging from a noose.