Rep. Mica: TSA standards for bomb-detection equipment out of date

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“Unbelievably, TSA has not fully implemented explosive detection screening technology requirements after six years and is trying to play catch-up while delaying implementation of the most up-to-date detection standards intended to address current terrorist threats,” he continued.  “TSA’s delays and poor planning continue to waste our limited resources, threaten transportation security, and weaken our ability to address the latest terrorist threats."

The GAO said that TSA revised its explosive detection requirements in 2005 and 2010, but that its equipment meeting the 2005 standards was not deployed until 2009.

"The remaining EDSs in the fleet are configured to meet the 1998 requirements because TSA either has not activated the included software or has not installed the needed hardware and software to allow these EDSs to meet the 2005 requirements," the report said. "Developing a plan to deploy and operate EDSs to meet the most recent requirements could help ensure EDSs are operating most effectively and should improve checked-baggage screening."

The TSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mica has been a vocal critic of the agency, though he helped write the law that created it after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Mica has pushed for privatizing airport security screeners. 

The full GAO report can be read here