The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has such poor management over its airport security equipment that the agency does not know if its screening machines are working, according to an audit by the Office of Inspector General.

American lives may be at risk due to ineffective maintenance of its equipment, which has cost taxpayers $1.2 billion.

“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is not properly managing the maintenance of its airport screening equipment,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general audit said. “Specifically, TSA has not issued adequate policies and procedures to airports for carrying out equipment maintenance-related responsibilities. Because TSA does not adequately oversee equipment maintenance, it cannot be assured that routine preventive maintenance is performed or that equipment is repaired and ready for operational use.”

“If the equipment is not fully operational, TSA may have to use other screening measures, which could result in longer wait times and delays in passenger and baggage screening,” the OIG said. “More importantly, our prior work on airport passenger and baggage screening demonstrated that these other measures may be less effective at detecting dangerous items.”

“Consequently, the safety of airline passengers and aircraft could be jeopardized,” they said.

Flaws in the TSA’s Field Data Reporting System (FDRS), which keeps track of how many bags go through various pieces of security equipment, have left TSA personnel unsure whether machines that are used to detect bombs are working properly.

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