Thanks to the government shutdown, the Transportation Security Administration is not functioning like the well-oiled machine it’s supposed to be; some employees are calling in sick and others are reporting that things just aren’t being checked as well as they could be – and no one is making any money.
Earlier this week, one of the pitfalls of the government shutdown became clear: a passenger on a flight from Atlanta to Tokyo was able to slip a gun through security. With many Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees working without pay, things are beginning to slip through the cracks at airports.
“Everything is slowing down a little bit,” San Francisco TSA employee Luster Harris told KPIX5. “Yes, we need border security, but you’re missing out on the security of other things. All our services are not running so some things are not being checked like they should be.”
Harris says that a number of TSA employees have been calling in sick during the furlough they’re mandated to work through, but mainly because they can’t afford the commute or childcare if they aren’t getting paid. And Harris himself won’t have the funds to pay his own bills in February. He’s also completely unsurprised about the gun incident.
“So far, God bless, nothing has happened [at Oakland airport, where I work],” Harris told KPIX5. “But there’s no telling when somebody with ill intentions may try something or sneak something on board and we don’t have the personnel to catch it. At least, not right now.”
As for now, Harris is starting to look for other work during the shutdown so he can make ends meet.
[Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]