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TSA neglected to ask if it needed so many criminal investigators

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The Transportation Security Administration hired too many high-paid criminal investigators and failed for years to do the analysis that would have shown that, said an official from the Homeland Security Department office of inspector general.

Last year, an OIG audit found that employees classified as "criminal investigators" within TSA's Office of Inspection received the premium pay and benefits afforded to law enforcement officers, even though the majority of their work could have been done by lower-paid employees in the same office.

At a House hearing Jan. 28, Anne Richards, an assistant inspector general at DHS, said TSA had ample time to realize that it had too many criminal investigators on staff.

"It's easy to see how the office was stood up in a hurry when TSA was stood up. But over the years that the office has existed, they had, in my opinion, more than adequate time to do a workforce analysis and determine what their workload really was," Richards told the House Homeland Security subcommittee on transportation security. "I believe they should have done so, but they did not."

The creation of TSA was rushed in the aftermath of 9/11, and Richards said it was understandable that the agency would overestimate its personnel needs at first. Yet the amount of criminal investigators "was never thoroughly examined in the history of the office," she said.

Roderick Allison, who heads the Office of Inspection, acknowledged the mistake.

"Some quantitative analysis should have occurred at some point to give us some baseline as to how many of these individuals...we should have," he said.

In response to the OIG report, Allison's office directed its employees to document the hours they spend on different activities so that it can determine how many criminal investigators it actually needs.

For more:
- go to the hearing webpage (webcast and prepared testimonies available)

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