Airport workers, including TSA, raid unlockable luggage for valuables

Airport stings keep catching insiders pilfering millions of dollars worth of passenger property from bags that can no longer be effectively locked, thanks to a TSA rule that insists on luggage being equipped with locks that are all vulnerable to the same passkey.

JFK is the worst airport for thefts, then LAX, Orlando and Miami.

Even worse: the TSA still routinely and unaccountably destroys luggage equipped with "TSA-safe" locks, just because they can. Last week, TSA inspectors at Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport pried the locks off of my unlocked, "TSA-safe" suitcase before taping it shut again and loading it onto my London-bound flight.

After filling in the TSA's complaint form, I received an illiterate boilerplate reply sent through a third-party contractor's do-not-reply address, telling me that "TSA is not liable for any damage to locks or bags that are required to be opened by force for security purposes." The reply even came with a bullshit confidentiality notice implying legal jeopardy for disclosing its vacuous contents.

Even the TSA has had problem employees. Since 2002, the agency has fired 513 officers for theft. It employs about 50,000 officers today, and last year screened more than 443 million checked bags and nearly 1.7 billion carry-ons.

Hidden cameras reveal airport workers stealing from luggage [Scott Zamost, Drew Griffin and Curt Devine/CNN]