A passenger carrying a firearm boarded a flight from Atlanta to Japan after ‘standard procedures’ were not followed at the TSA checkpoint as the shutdown crisis forces agents to work for weeks without pay.
The traveler departed from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, the busiest airport in the world, and flew to Narita International Airport in Chiba on January 3.
‘TSA has determined standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did in fact pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,’ a TSA spokesman said in a statement.
The passenger flew on a Delta Airlines flight and ‘upon the customer’s disclosure, the airline reported the incident to the TSA’.
The oversight occured amid reports of TSA workers calling in sick due to the fact they are not being paid during the ongoing government shutdown.
A passenger carrying a firearm boarded a flight from Atlanta to Japan after ‘standard procedures’ were not followed at the TSA checkpoint, it has been revealed. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is pictured here in a file photo
The traveler departed from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, the busiest airport in the world, and flew to Narita International Airport (pictured in file photo) in Chiba on January 3
On Sunday it was revealed that 7.7 percent of TSA employees called in sick, more than double compared to the same date last year.
But the TSA claims the government shutdown – the longest in US history – had nothing to do with the security breach.
‘The perception that this might have occurred as a result of the partial government shutdown would be false,’ a spokesman told CNN.
‘The national unscheduled absence rate of TSA staff on Thursday, January 3, 2019, was 4.8% compared to 6.3% last year, Thursday, January 4, 2018. So in fact, the national call out rate was higher a year ago than this year on that date.’
The Terminal G passenger area of the Miami International Airport on January 12 is pictured after it was forced to shut down due to a shortage of security agents
The TSA said that it will ‘hold those responsible appropriately accountable’ but did not disclose further details.
News of last week’s incident comes on the same day it was revealed that TSA would offer some payment for workers amid the shutdown.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske revealed agents who were working on December 22, the last day of the pay period, would receive that payment along with a $500 bonus for working during the holidays.
Workers had not gotten paid for that day originally because the shutdown had already begun.
‘While I realize this is not what you are owed for your hard work during pay period 26 and what you deserve, I hope these actions alleviate some of the financial hardship many of you are facing,’ Pekoske tweeted.
Pekoske had tweeted early on Friday that the TSA was looking at multiple ways to get some compensation to their unpaid employees. According to the administrator, the funding was possible ‘because of unique authorities provided TSA in law.’
Federal workers during this shutdown missed their first paychecks on Friday, heightening concerns about mounting financial pressures on employees.
TSA agents are among the 420,000 federal workers considered essential employees required to work without their paychecks.
The TSA said its rate of unscheduled absences rose to 5.6 percent on Saturday from 3.3 percent a year ago but that security standards have not been compromised
Meanwhile, Miami International Airport said it will close one of its terminals early over the next several days due to a possible shortage of security screeners, who have been calling in sick at twice the normal rate.
The TSA administrator explained on Friday what the compensation for workers would look like as they roll it out over the weekend
The shutdown had begun before the start of the December 22 work day, so the compensation is completing that pay period for those that worked that day
The paid day and bonus comes at a time TSA employees have started calling in sick, a process that is beginning to strain airport traffic and security
Pekoske did not explain as to what the ‘unique authorities’ were that found cash to distribute to the employees
Roughly 800,000 federal workers did not receive paychecks that would have gone out on Friday. Some have resorted to selling their possessions or posting appeals on online fundraising sites to help pay their bills.
Trump is considering a possible national emergency declaration that would end the shutdown and allow him to obtain his wall funding by circumventing Congress.
But on Saturday, he told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro that he would rather Democrats take action, adding that he was waiting at the White House ready to cut a deal.
‘I want to give them a chance to see if they can act responsibly,’ Trump said, calling the situation at the nation’s southern border a ‘humanitarian crisis.’
President Trump continues to push for a border wall as part of a budget deal with Democrats who have tried to pass legislation without funding to no avail
‘They think it’s politics. I think it’s bad politics. This country wants to have protection at the border,’ Trump said.
Democrats say Trump shut the government in a ‘temper tantrum’ by refusing to sign bipartisan funding legislation last year that did not include money for his wall.
The closure, which began on December 22, broke a decades-old record by a 1995-1996 shutdown under former President Clinton that lasted 21 days.
Democrats, who call a wall an ineffective, outdated answer to a complex problem, have passed several bills in the House of Representatives to reopen the government without the $5.7billion funding for Trump’s barrier, but the legislation has been ignored by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Trump originally promised Mexico would pay for the wall, which he says is needed to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs. But Mexico has refused.