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Letter to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel Regarding Alleged Aviation Security Violations

In response to a request from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), OIG investigated, on behalf of the Department, aviation security allegations brought by Bogdan Dzakovic, a former member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s "Red Team," the agency's covert aviation security testing unit. Mr. Dzakovic alleged to OSC that officials within the FAA’s division of Civil Aviation Security deliberately covered up Red Team findings.

OIG’s investigation did not disclosed evidence to substantiate the allegations that FAA officials covered up Red Team test results. While we did find that a former Red Team manager had instructed the Red Team to pre-notify FAA Federal Security Managers in advance of explosive detection system machine testing, we concluded that it was done for legitimate purposes, and Red Team records show a slightly higher test failure rate after pre-notification was instituted.

However, we did find considerable merit to other concerns Dzakovic raised relative to coordination between Red Team management and other FAA-CAS elements responsible for providing followup to Red Team findings. In particular, we found programmatic weaknesses involving the reporting of Red Team findings and regarding corrective action.

Further, we found that changes made by FAA as a result of Red Team testing generally did not have the desired effect of creating sustained improved performance by airport screening companies.

We recommended that FAA's successor agency -- the Transportation Security Administration, in developing its covert testing program, ensure that the following provisions are implement: 1) detailed standard operating procedures addressing operational considerations for testing; 2) procedures for applying the results of covert testing to substantive enhancements in key areas such as screener training, screener performance/accountability applications, and TSA local testing; and, 3) a reliable mechanism for providing meaningful feedback to testing team members about actions taken as a result of their efforts. TSA has concurred with the recommendations and indicates that its new covert testing program includes these elements.

A copy of our report, which was released by OSC this morning, is attached.

A copy of OSC’s transmittal letter to the President can be found on their web site at