The Transportation and Security Administration has implemented changes to its safety procedures after a whistleblower complaint expressed concern over the agency’s handling of the pandemic.
The whistleblower, TSA federal security director Jay Brainard, is one of the highest-ranking TSA officials in Kansas. Brainard notified the Office of Special Counsel and is raising the alarm at the same time the agency said that more than 1,000 TSA agents have tested positive for coronavirus, with more than 900 of those frontline officers.
Brainard met with TSA Administrator David Pekoske in late June and, just before the Fourth of July holiday, the agency implemented a series of new procedures to ensure the safety of its staff and passengers.
TSA officers are now instructed to clean their gloves or change their gloves between interactions with passengers such as pat-downs or id checks to prevent cross-contamination. They are also encouraging passengers to put loose items in personal bags rather than security bins.
Officers will now wear face shields as well as masks.
TSA is also putting transparent screens where officers and passengers interact without social distancing.
Some airports had begun these practices already, such as the one in Brainard’s region.
In response to Brainard’s complaint, TSA spokesman R. Carter Langston said: “internal feedback comes from many different sources and we listen to all of them.”
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