06/04/2012 05:47 pm ET

TSA Workers Fired, Suspended For Violating Screening Protocol

Five TSA workers have been fired, and another 38 suspended, from a Florida airport for violating protocol by failing to perform random screenings, reports The News-Press.

The incidents happened over two months in 2011 at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, Florida. According to CNN, 300 to 400 passengers should have been chosen at random for a secondary screening at airport security and were not.

MSNBC reports that the violations took place during the late security shift, but a TSA spokesman would neither confirm nor deny in order to protect the identities of the workers. They were apparently discovered when a TSA employee, who joined the late shift that year, voiced concerns that protocol was being violated.

TSA spokesman David Castelveter told The News-Press that the number of workers involved (43 out of approximately 280) makes this one of the largest disciplinary actions in the agency's 10-year history.

In a vague press statement, Rep. John Mica warned of a "dramatic meltdown of TSA operations" at an unnamed Florida airport. Possibly alluding to this incident, he said: "The significant security system failure at this Florida airport once again highlights the need to get TSA out of the human resources business and back into the nation's security business."

In the past, the TSA has called for the firing of 12 officers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport for botching bag inspections. It also suspended eight agents at Newark Liberty International Airport for sleeping on the job, and fired 28 bag screeners at Honolulu International Airport for failing to screen checked bags for explosives.