A passenger on an international flight to Japan was able to bring a gun on board the plane, but TSA claims that had nothing to do with the strain put on unpaid workers by the government shutdown.
According to the report on The Washington Post, the gun went undetected until the passenger notified Delta staff and was extremely cooperative during the process. However, there are concerns that this occurred due to a shortage of TSA employees due to the government shutdown.
However, the agency strongly denied any correlation between the incident and the shutdown.
“TSA has determined standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did, in fact, pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm,” said the agency to The Washington Post. “TSA has held those responsible appropriately accountable.”
Despite the denials, there have been multiple reports of shortages at major airports.
Advice to always get to @iah 2 hours before your flight is especially important today. Shortage of TSA workers, unpaid during the US gov’t shutdown, is causing this change. Terminal B is solely @united flights. pic.twitter.com/ijCKa4k1NP
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) January 13, 2019
The @TSA security checkpoint at Terminal B has been closed, and passengers will be routed to either Terminal C or E. if you have a flight, please allow extra time, and check https://t.co/a5cyZuGvqF for wait times. #fly2houston
— Houston Bush Airport (@iah) January 13, 2019
Hydrick Thomas, the TSA council president for the American Federation of Government Employees, also admitted that many employees are becoming desperate.
“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown,” said Thomas.