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Revised security procedures across the US are planned after tests found that airport screeners allowed mock explosives and weapons through checkpoints 95% of the time.
A screener in one test failed to find a fake bomb taped to an agent's back despite patting the man down.
ABC News reported that the tests were carried out at 70 US airports. Only three airports were able to detect the banned weapons, a Homeland Security inspector general report said.
US homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson pledged reforms to airport security in the wake of the revelations.
Security officers should be retrained and scanning equipment should be retested, he said.
"The numbers in these reports never look good out of context but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security," Johnson said.
"We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve."
Johnson said the results of the report were classified, but he said there would be more random covert testing at checkpoints, the BBC reported.
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