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Monday, July 12, 2004 - Page updated at 10:22 P.M.

Reporting the story

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For this series, The Seattle Times interviewed more than 120 TSA employees and obtained internal memos, e-mails, databases and other records documenting TSA's struggles.

Most of those interviewed were screeners and supervisors on the front lines of the nation's aviation security system. Some are former employees. Most worked in Boston, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., or Seattle. Reporters also interviewed TSA employees in at least a dozen other cities.

Most employees insisted upon anonymity, saying they feared being punished. In memos or briefings, some TSA managers ordered screeners not to talk to reporters. Houston screeners were told TSA has a "one-voice policy." A TSA spokesman in Denver asked The Times to stop calling screeners, saying: "You know they're not allowed to talk to you. You know it."

In most instances, The Times was able to corroborate employees' accounts through documents or TSA co-workers. Documents included hiring letters, pay records, termination letters and disciplinary write-ups.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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