Undercover investigators were able to sneak explosives and weapons past security screeners at 15 airports nationwide, according to a government report on aviation security. The government watchdog for the Department of Homeland Security, Clark Kent Ervin, delivered the results of the tests in a classified report to members of Congress, reports USA Today. “The performance was poor,” said Ervin, who released a less detailed version Wednesday.
The tests were done during the second half of 2003. But they highlight ongoing vulnerabilities in the nation’s aviation security system, particularly in detecting explosives such as those that Russian authorities say were used to bring down two airliners last month. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of a House aviation subcommittee, confirmed that the longer, classified report showed weapons and explosives got by screeners. He said the results on weapons were “bad enough,” but the results on explosives were “absolutely horrendous.” Ervin’s report blamed poor training and management of the thousands of screeners who work for the Transportation Security Administration, a division of the Homeland Security department. It also cited the need for better equipment and technology.