9 Investigates: TSA, private screeners at Orlando airport

9 Investigates: TSA, private screeners at Orlando airport

ORLANDO, Fla. — Following the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, an Orlando congressman is pushing for big changes to the TSA.

Representative John Mica helped put the TSA in place. His goal was to have private screeners take over two years after 9/11, but that's only happened at about a dozen airports.

9 Investigates found out what he's doing a decade later to make it easier to get through those security lines and to make flying safer.

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Kent Craven flies weekly for business and said getting through security with TSA agents is miserable.

"I try to be patient with TSA, but it’s rarely a good experience," said Craven.

Craven supports a push to replace federal TSA screeners at Orlando International Airport with private workers under federal supervision.

"There would be fewer problems, a lot better service and better safety," Craven said.

Only 16 airports have private screeners, and Mica blames TSA scare tactics.

"TSA intimidates the airports," Mica said.

Airports have the option of switching to private screeners, something officials at OIA are considering.

"Orlando does not need the TSA in its current capacity," Mica said.

Mica told 9 Investigates he's working on new law that would require airports to use private screeners.

"We need to get the government out of the personnel business," Mica said. "It's failed in almost every instance to stop people known to have terrorist credentials."

Mica said a recent government report that showed a 26 percent increase in TSA misconduct proves the agency needs an overhaul.

Officials said TSA workers were caught sleeping on the job, stealing from passengers and fast-tracking friends and family.

In one case, a TSA worker tried to get a relative's bag past security without screening it.

A supervisor noticed, and when he checked the bag it contained prohibited items.

Officials did not tell WFTV what the items were, but the report did say the agent was suspended for seven days.

"It's a safety issue and my feeling is if they were privatized that person would be fired," said Craven.

The TSA told WFTV it has a zero tolerance policy for misconduct.

Meanwhile, members of an Orlando airport committee visited the San Francisco airport to see how it operates under private screeners.

The committee could make a recommendation to the Orlando airport board before the end of the year.