Americans rely on TSA’s intelligence office to collaborate with other intelligence agencies and prevent dangerous events like the airport bombings in Brussels from earlier this year. However, the office has come under fire over the last few years due to internal complaints, security lapses, and allegations of unprofessional behavior leading to congressional inquiries. Reveal News recently spoke to Federal Employment Law Attorney Debra D'Agostino about the issues plaguing the office and who should be held responsible for any shortcomings.
Attorney D'Agostino has experience with dealing with the TSA: she's represented clients who have alleged retaliation, false allegations, and a hostile work environment. She calls the latest allegations, which accuse intelligence office managers doling out noogies, headlocks, punitive push-ups, and engaging in inappropriate conversations, "juvenile, frat-boy nonsense."
"This is not what one would expect to hear of an office that has such an important role in our nation’s security,” she told Reveal. "It’s been very disappointing to hear about what is going on in that office." In her previous case, a male TSA co-worker had accused Attorney D'Agostino's client of giving him a wedgie. The client did not even know the definition of the word.
SHUFFLING SENIOR LEADERS
Attorney D'Agostino agrees with other insiders that accountability remains a significant issue at the TAS. When a senior leader becomes accused of misconduct, the agency responds by reassigning that leader rather than seriously confronting the allegations against them. This shuffling of leaders not only leaves mistreated employees silenced, but creates meaningful gaps in relevant experience-- which is a real concern for an intelligence agency. In 2014, the office was responsible for a leak in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation and was temporarily restricted from handling classified records.
For more of Reveal News' "Wedgie, noogie, pushup: Life inside TSA’s intelligence office" and Attorney D'Agostino's insight, read the entire report here.