The WaPo today previews a DHS inspector general report to be released next week that criticizes TSA and contractor NCS Pearson for TSA’s screener hiring contract during the agency’s startup in 2002:
Transportation Security Administration officials rushing to hire airport passenger screeners after Sept. 11, 2001, may have violated contracting regulations by failing to track spending while telling a contractor to “do whatever was necessary” to meet congressional deadlines, according to a new government report….
“Generally, legislative deadlines, rather than detailed requirements or cost analyses, drove TSA’s management decisions,” said the report, which was prepared by the Office of Inspector General at the Homeland Security Department.
The 32-page report is set to be released next week. A Pearson spokeswoman declined to comment on the report, saying she had not seen it. A TSA spokeswoman also said she had not seen the report and could not comment.
All of this needs to be put into the context of a political environment where public opinion demanded a quick fix and Congress had set very difficult completion deadlines for the end of 2002. But that doesn’t excuse the many egregious actions in the execution of this contract.