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Rewarding mediocrity: TSA's bonus scam

| Sunday, March 13, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
The TSA discovered 37 firearms in one week this January in carry-on bags around the nation, including one at Pittsburgh International Airport. Of the 37 firearms discovered, 30 were loaded and 15 had a round chambered.

By definition, a “bonus” is recognition of a job well done. In federal application, it's acceptance of poor performance as graphically illustrated by the Transportation Security Administration.

Following a whistle-blower's complaint, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating TSA bonuses paid despite pitiful job performance. Under the collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Government Employees union, performance-based cash awards are permitted without defining how these perks are to be issued.

And once again, the brakes are applied long after the flight to mediocrity has left the gate.

TSA officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport pocketed automatic bonuses — in one case, $70,000 over three years — despite abysmal results in security tests, according to reports. An undercover operation revealed that weapons bypassed security 95 percent of the time in 70 tests. Screeners reportedly failed to find a fake bomb taped to an undercover agent's back even after it set off a warning device.

At issue is the same federal disregard that leaves suicidal veterans on hold, pays Social Security benefits to dead people and provides incentives instead of deterrents to hordes of border crashers.

Yet for all the investigations and accompanying outrage, the government's most pathetic players are nevertheless rewarded with bonus cash — if not job security.

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