The Transportation Security Administration is under fire once again – this time for mismanaging a $1 billion technology program.
The New York Times reported that an audit conducted by the Office of Inspector General of the
Homeland Security Department found TSA officials mismanaged a contract with
Unisys Corp. to provide computers, pagers, cell phones, radios, telephones and
a high-speed network for the agency’s 65,000 employees at its headquarters, 21
field offices and 429 airports.
The audit said the $1 billion was supposed to fund the project through
2009, but most of it was used up by this year, before many of the projects were
finished, according to The Times.
The Times reported
that security directors at some airports were still relying on dial-up internet
connections for e-mail and information on training, schedules and attendance
for airport screeners. All of the airports have since been upgraded to
Some systems, however, are still not fully delivered, including voice
mail, a staff management system, a secure wireless network and a network of
training computers, The Times reported.
Some of the personnel quoted in the report said the equipment they were
given was old and cheap, according to The
“We were given a hodgepodge of $20 Radio Shack phones with which to
conduct business,” one security director said. “Some are so old they actually
have a mechanical bell that rings when someone is calling.”
In its defense, Unisys issued a statement saying it provided “state-of-the-art radio and communications technology” and that “the shortfalls
were the result of inadequate funding rather than the fault of Unisys.”