Tags: tsa | sick | media | fake news

DHS: CNN Claim Of TSA Sick Out is 'Fake News'

Saturday, 05 January 2019 02:25 PM

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton disputed a CNN report that large numbers of TSA employees are calling in sick, deeming the report "More #FakeNews from @CNN," in a tweet."

"Security operations at airports have not been impacted by a non-existent sick out." Houlton's tweet read. "CNN has the cell numbers of multiple @TSA public affairs professionals, but rather than validate statistics, they grossly misrepresented them."

According to CNN's report, hundreds of Transportation Security Administration employees, working without pay during he government shutdown, have been calling in sick at four major airports across the country.

In a tweet, CNN defended its report, saying it had spoken "to numerous TSA & union officials" and that it had "cited data provided by unions for our report."

"TSA itself put out a statement acknowledging increased call-outs after we published," the news outlet declared, adding though officials at the Department of Homeland Security and President Donald Trump "may not like the truth… that won’t stop us from reporting."

CNN, citing federal employees and union sources, said some of the employees are upset at having to work without pay, though some simply ar having to stay home because they cannot afford to pay for child care or are finding other jobs to tide them over during the shutdown

President Donald Trump praised Houlton's tweet on Saturday, saying:

"Great Tweet today by Tyler Q. Houlton @SpoxDHS on the #FakeNews being put out by @CNN, a proud member of the Opposition Party. @TSA is doing a great job!"

TSA officials played down concerns the government shutdown poses a threat to safety at major airports but warned that the second half of next week could be crucial if workers don’t get paid.

If government resumes funding by Thursday, the 51,739 TSA employees supporting airport security will be paid the following day.

“We’re scheduled to be paid on Friday. If we go past midweek missing a pay period, that certainly changes the environment,” said Michael Bilello, a TSA spokesman.

Nationwide, the call-ins haven’t had much of an effect on operations, he and other officials said. As of Saturday morning, the maximum TSA wait time was 36 minutes, and the maximum PreCheck wait time was 17 minutes, both within TSA standards of 45 and 15 minutes, respectively.

For JFK airport on Friday, the maximum wait time was 21 minutes and the maximum PreCheck wait was 4 minutes. At Dallas-Fort Worth International, the wait time was slightly longer than in New York but still within TSA standards. Over 90 percent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes, Mr. Bilello said.

An average of 25 TSA employees call in sick per shift at DFW. The normal call-in rate is 3.5 percent, and yesterday it increased to 5.5 percent, according to TSA. For security reasons, the agency doesn’t release specific staffing numbers.

The Airports Council International, a trade body for the world’s airport authorities, expressed concerns about how the shutdown is dragging on.

“A prolonged government shutdown could potentially impact security and wait times at airports, as Transportation Security Officers seek other employment,” said Christopher Bidwell, senior vice president for security.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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Department of Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton disputed a CNN report that large numbers of TSA employees are calling in sick, deeming the report "More #FakeNews from CNN," in a tweet.""Security operations at airports have not been impacted by a non-existent...
tsa, sick, media, fake news
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2019-25-05
Saturday, 05 January 2019 02:25 PM
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