An investigation by KGW Portland found that across the nation, 858 TSA workers tested positive for drugs and/or alcohol from 2010 through 2016. The station obtained the information through a Freedom of Information Act request.
“The highest failure rates occurred at some of the nation’s busiest airports,” KGW reports. “Fifty-one TSA workers tested positive for drugs or alcohol at Los Angeles International Airport. John F. Kennedy International Airport [in New York] had 40 employees test positive. Boston Logan International Airport had 35 failed tests.”
Employees who fail their drug or alcohol tests are fired. The agency administers tests both randomly and when an employee is suspected of being under the influence. In 2016, the TSA conducted 17,649 random searches among their roughly 60,000 employees, with 97 people testing positive.
Last year, a Homeland Security Committee report detailed widespread misconduct within the agency.
“For years, news media outlets have reported on serious instances of misconduct by TSA employees across the country, ranging from assaulting passengers to participating in large-scale criminal conspiracies. Although TSA has taken some steps to address employee misconduct, sadly, these stories continue to be in the news and in the mind of the public,” the report stated. “Given these seemingly continuous scandals, the House Homeland Security Committee conducted an investigation to review TSA’s efforts to identify, adjudicate and address misconduct. “