Report Finds Weakness in TSA Security, Accounting Practices
According to an independent audit report released this week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not been “consistently” conducting background checks on employees and contractors who provide security to information technology at the U.S. Coast Guard’s financial center, the organization responsible for completing TSA’s accounting work.
The report, released by KPMG LLP, a private international accounting firm, also states that the TSA is unable to provide documentation to back up $585 million listed in its financial documents because of weak accounting practices, reports The Washington Times.
Released by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General, the report states that the unsubstantiated TSA money includes $351 million in accounts payable, $142 million in employee leave documentation and $92 million in financial transactions with other government agencies.
The document also points to security lapses between the Coast Guard and its computer software vendors, citing that the Coast Guard does not require certain security measures, such as secure passwords.
Other cited infractions include the tendency for the TSA to give employees too much access to the computer systems immediately after employment and the agency’s failure to keep adequate records to document employees’ leave time or how it measures its property purchases and depreciation.
“TSA was unable to provide sufficient audit evidence to support the accuracy, completeness and existence of accrued unfunded leave” and other financial categories, the report states.
On Wednesday, TSA declined The Washington Times‘ request to elaborate specifically on the report. But it did say it is working on fixing the errors.
“We fully concur with KPMG’s findings and are taking aggressive action to implement the recommendations provided in the report,” wrote David R. Nicholson, assistant administrator and chief financial officer at TSA, in a letter to the DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner in response to the report.
Skinner’s office oversees an annual inspection of the agencies’ financial records by an outside accounting firm.
In February, Skinner told the House Homeland Security Committee that financial management had been “a major challenge” for DHS since its creation in 2003 and that an audit in 2007 showed that “numerous material internal control weaknesses continued to be reported.”