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Public Advocate's Critics Proved Wrong Again: Federal Audit Says TSA Lacks Proper Monitoring, Investigation of Air Passenger Complaints

The Transportation Security Administration lacks a centralized system to monitor the complaints from air travelers, doesn't factor numerous complaints when evaluating its customer satisfaction scorecards and faces a potential conflict of interest in investigating many complaints, according to a federal audit.

Ahead of the holiday travel season, the Government Accountability Office released a report on Nov. 15 that found problems with the TSA's complaint process. The report says that 39,616 complaints were made to the TSA Contact Center, or TCC, from October 2009 through June 2012. However, the TCC is just one of five avenues for air travelers to make complaints and it is the only one evaluated by the TSA in doing its annual scorecard.

Of those complaints to the TCC - 17,153 - pertain to pat-downs, according to the GAO. Almost 10,000 pertained to customer service issues, while nearly another 10,000 dealt with screening. Other sources of complaints dealt primarily with the advanced imaging technology - which despite its controversy just logged 1,853 of the complaints - disability and civil rights complaints........

The report says, "TSA is using only the complaints received through the TCC to calculate an air passenger satisfaction indicator in its Office of Security Operations' Executive Scorecard."

"TSA does not use data from its other four mechanisms, in part because the complaint categories differ, making data consolidation difficult," said the report compiled by Stephen Lord, director of homeland security and justice issues for the GAO.