House Panel to Investigate TSA Performance-Based Cash Rewards

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(CNN) — A House committee is investigating the Transportation Security Administration and its performance-based cash reward system following claims of abuse by current and former employees.

The TSA, which oversees airport security nationwide, has until March 4 to provide documents to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that explain how the agency’s system of awards and bonuses work.

In a letter sent to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger on Tuesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee, stressed that, among other things, it is unclear how Neffenger’s agency issues its cash awards.

Chaffetz explains, “The Committee’s review of documents provided by TSA, and information provided by current and former TSA employees, gave rise to concerns that TSA’s highly discretionary compensation practices are vulnerable to abuse.”

The New York Times, for example, reported Tuesday that a top security official for the agency allegedly received over $70,000 in bonuses during a three-year period in spite of a leaked audit revealing that TSA screeners missed catching fake weapons placed by investigators 95% of the time. Other complaints by employees include reassigning those who reported security shortfalls and demoting an employee for reporting incidents of gender discrimination.

The TSA was created in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks to help further prevent more acts of terrorism. In a statement quoted by the Times, the TSA says it “takes any allegations of improper conduct seriously and is committed to transparency and accountability.”

CNN has reached out to TSA for comment.

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