Federal money spent in the name of improving airport security included $527 for one phone call, $1,180 for 20 gallons of Starbucks Coffee, $1,540 to rent 14 extension cords at for three weeks, and $8,100 for elevator operators, reports the Washington Post, citing a federal audit. The audit calls into question $303 million of the $741 million spent to assess and hire airport passenger screeners for the Transportation Security Administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The audit faulted the prime contractor, NCS Pearson Inc., which was hired by the TSA to test, interview, fingerprint, medically evaluate, and pre-certify job candidates. A decision to move the hiring process from Pearson’s 925 U.S. private assessment centers to 150 hotels and other meeting facilities added at least $343 million to the cost. “It was a waste of taxpayer’s money,” said Patrick Cowan, of Denver, who supervised hiring efforts for Pearson at 43 sites. “There was abuse of the taxpayers’ trust. We didn’t get the bang for our buck.”