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By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
June 3, 2015

Undercover investigators working as part of "Red Teams" -- groups charged with testing security vulnerabilities -- were overwhelmingly successful in breaching airport security with fake explosives and banned weapons, according to reports released on Monday. The undercover agents were able to compromise Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, in an investigation that revealed a massive, system-wide security failure at America's airports.

The TSA security officers -- who had received a upgrade in their titles, going from "screeners" to "security officers" -- failed to detect contraband in 96 percent of the vulnerability tests carried out by the special investigators. In one case, a Red Team member carrying a fake IED (improvised explosive device) hidden on his back set off a detector, but even then the officer passed the undercover agent through the checkpoint, according to Catherine Herridge, Fox News' Chief Intelligence Correspondent.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Red Team testing of transportation security, especially airline security, has been part of the TSA's program since the creation of the department 13 years ago. After the events that led to the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history on Sept. 11, 2001, one of the controversies facing the air travel industry was the use of private security firms that provided uniformed security guards making minimum wage or thereabouts and offering the security screeners little if any training.

Guard companies complained that airports and airlines wanted to spend as little as possible for security which they viewed as a non-profit making department and an expensive "cost center." However, according to former police commander and then owner of FLT Security Services, Sidney Francis, instead of paying private firms more money "the lawmakers, mostly Democrats and liberal Republicans, saw an opportunity to increase the federal employees unions and the bureaucracy."

"It's not clear to me that the $40 billion we've spent on screening passengers since September 11 is the wisest use of security resources," Robert Poole, a member of the Government Accountability Office's National Aviation Studies Advisory Panel, told U.S. News. The total amount spent exceeds the $40 billion when the federal air marshal program and other facets of security are factored in.

"The Inspector General [of the DHS] has provided me with a classified, preliminary briefing that reflects test results centered largely on a specific manner in which someone may seek to bring prohibited items through Transportation Security Administration screening into the secure area of an airport. It is important to remember that all air travelers are subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers of detection and protection, many of which are not visible to the traveling public," stated Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who many complain spends too much time on President Barack Obama's illegal immigration program and not enough on actually protecting the homeland.

"Secretary Johnson is busy using airplanes to actually go to countries such as El Salvador to actually fly illegal aliens -- what he calls undocumented immigrants -- into the United States. He's too busy dealing with the release of deportable immigrants, some of whom have criminal records here in the U.S. or in their home countries," said Iris Aquino, a former police officer and security supervisor.

In his statement, Secretary Johnson intimated that the abysmal results were yesterday's news -- a hallmark statement of the Obama administration -- and that he'd rather discuss what he plans to do to "enhance our security capabilities and techniques."

Johnson then proceeded to list his ideas for correcting the airport security fiasco. For example, he stated that TSA leadership was directed to immediately revise its standard operating procedures (SOPs) for screening to address the specific vulnerabilities identified by the Inspector General’s Red Teams. He also claimed he directed the "TSA to conduct training for all transportation security officers, in a phased fashion, in airports across the country, and intensive training for all supervisory personnel to address the specific vulnerabilities identified by the Inspector General’s testing."

"I continue to have confidence in the TSA workforce. Last fiscal year TSA screened a record number of passengers at airports in the United States, and, at the same time, seized a record number of prohibited items. TSA and the Inspector General are constantly testing and adapting the systems we have in place as part of our commitment to aviation security," said Secretary Johnson.

In May, the TSA had a large scale criminal case on its hands thanks to fourteen airport workers being charged in an alleged large-scale criminal conspiracy to violate airport security requirements and transport drugs throughout the country. The co-conspirators were described as a drug trafficking organization determined to use the special access some of them had been granted as baggage handlers at the Oakland International Airport to circumvent the security measures in place at the airport.

Criminal Aliens and Border Security

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general reported that his office discovered the enormous agency doesn't keep records how immigration enforcement is managed to avoid compromising national security and the safety of the American public. According to a report appearing on Sunday in the Heritage Foundation's daily news outlet -- the Daily Signal -- prosecutorial discretion is a legal process that's supposed to be applied on an individual case involving an individual. Unfortunately, the Obama administration unilaterally applied prosecutorial discretion large numbers of illegal aliens.

In his report, Inspector General John Roth recommended that his department's superiors should create and enforce a procedure to gather and report the individual uses of "prosecutorial discretion" to increase the transparency that is so lacking in the current administration. In fact, the House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation – the Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 1148) – that if passed would mandate the DHS officials involved in the immigration process to annually report to the U.S. Congress the Administration’s use -- or abuse -- of prosecutorial discretion.

Prosecutorial discretion has become one of President Barack Obama's gifts for illegal immigrants. It's considered by many to be "amnesty-light" and it allows federal law enforcement agencies make decision regarding the extent to which they enforce laws, including immigration deportation statutes. While the process has been used for about four years to stop illegal alien removals by low-level field officers in order to "stonewall" the deportations of illegal aliens -- many of whom had criminal records -- by using ridiculous rationales.

What has occurred is that prosecutorial discretion guidelines allowed thousands of illegal aliens to stay in the United States, but DHS officials cannot answer questions about the number of "undocumented immigrants" were allowed to remain. "That’s because, unbelievably, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) doesn’t bother keeping track of the illegal immigrants it has failed to prosecute under the directive. In fact, the agency doesn’t even have a data-gathering system in place to document when agents exercise prosecutorial discretion," according to the inspector general's report.

"This could create a national security risk, the agency watchdog writes, further stating that DHS may be missing opportunities to strengthen its ability to remove aliens who pose a threat to national security and public safety,” according to the IG's report. "Incredibly, the various DHS agencies cannot provide the number of DACA-eligible illegal aliens they had released."

In a press statement, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, called on the Obama administration to end its reckless policies: “Not only are President Obama’s unilaterally-created immigration policies and programs unconstitutional, their implementation has proved to needlessly place Americans and our country at risk.'

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Congressman Goodlatte also noted: "Department of Homeland Security does not track its use of prosecutorial discretion nor does it always conduct thorough background checks on the individuals benefitting from the Administration’s lax policies. As a result, the American people are left in the dark about the effects of the Administration’s immigration policies and dangerous criminal aliens who have committed a crime in their home country may be able to find amnesty in the United States. While it is inexcusable that DHS does not monitor the use of prosecutorial discretion, it’s even more important that the Obama Administration end its reckless policies.”

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Undercover investigators working as part of "Red Teams" -- groups charged with testing security vulnerabilities -- were overwhelmingly successful in breaching airport security with fake explosives and banned weapons, according to reports released on Monday.