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Reports: TSA looking into whistleblower's coronavirus protection complaints

Reports: TSA looking into whistleblower's coronavirus protection complaints
Posted at 1:17 PM, Jun 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 13:17:42-04

A high-ranking Transportation Security Administration official says the agency is falling short when it comes to protecting airport screeners and the public from the new coronavirus while at the country's airports, according to published reports.

The Officer of Special Counsel, a federal office that handles whistleblower complaints, has ordered an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security. The whistleblower's charges were reported by the Washington Post and National Public Radio. Several publications identify the whistleblower as TSA Federal Security Director Jay Brainard, who is the official in charge of transportation security in Kansas.

"You've got communities shutting down. You've got governors shutting things down. And we still hadn't mandated masks. We still hadn't mandated eyewear. We still weren't changing personal protective equipment as often as we needed to," Brainard told NPR. "Every federal security director was forced to fend for him or herself."

TSA says it follows guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that screeners now wear masks and nitrile gloves. But the whistleblower says there are still gaps, including no procedure for handling travelers who appear to be sick.

Brainard has been a whistleblower before, most recently in December when he told CNN he was worried about loosened security at airports.

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