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TSA investigation sparks concern at Columbia Regional Airport

The results of an internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration, TSA, has many people concerned about the safety of U.S. airports.

The Department of Homeland Security sent undercover agents posing as passengers to airports across the country to test out security checkpoints.The investigation found 67 out of 70 undercover investigators, or 95 percent, were able to get fake weapons past security in airports across the country.

An average of more than 5,100 people fly out of the Columbia Regional Airport each month, according to the airport’s website. Like a typical airport, all passengers are required to show an ID, take off shoes, put carry-on bags on a conveyor belt to be x-rayed and go through a metal detector. But passengers Abc 17 News spoke with now feel like that might not be enough.

“If it’s so easy to get through with weapons-they said roughly 95 percent have made it through on this test-that’s disgraceful, and it puts all of our lives at danger,” Columbia Regional Airport passenger Carl Schulte said.

In the TSA investigation, one undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a metal detector. But the TSA screeners who patted him down did not find the fake explosive device taped to his back.

Sherry Barnhouse, who flew out of the Columbia Regional Airport Tuesday, said it makes her wonder why she has to take the extra time to pack according to TSA guidelines.

“When people are obviously bringing things through on purpose and they’re not being caught, what good is it for me to do all these precautionary measures so that they can check me, and yet things are still getting through,” Barnhouse said.

Steve Faber, a member of the airport’s advisory board, said the board will talk about the local impact at their meeting Wednesday morning.

“We would like to know what the failures were that caused these articles to be missed, and then find out if any of that is affected at our airport,” Faber said.

Faber said the board will most likely ask the airport manager to bring a presentation on TSA procedures within the airport to review current security levels.

Since the investigation, the TSA screening procedures are under review by the Department of Homeland Security. And all airports will be briefed on the initial findings. The review is set to be released later this summer.

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