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D/FW AIRPORT - For an agency accustomed to poor public relations, the Transportation Security Administration has yet to explain a major mistake on Wednesday at D/FW Airport.

The message it's sending to the public is 'We're asleep at the wheel,' said Paul Gaumond, a former TSA employee, who's now a manager at Andrews International, a large private security firm.

Wednesday morning, screeners mistakenly allowed Judith Kenney, 65, to go through a security checkpoint in Terminal D with a .38-caliber pistol in her bag.

Kenney had already boarded her American Airlines jet before police found her.

Somebody wasn't paying attention, Gaumond said. The bags kept rolling. She didn't know what was in it either. Got her clothes back on - shoes, belts, whatever - and walked to her gate.

After reviewing two years worth of police reports, News 8 discovered weapons are found weekly at security checkpoints inside D/FW Airport.

In 2010, records show the TSA discovered 100 prohibited weapons at the airport which led to 77 arrests.

Last year, weapons found went down slightly to 93.

But significantly fewer owners faced charges - only 58 people.

Guns will get you arrested, the airport explained, but many flyers caught last year likely had knives, brass knuckles or pepper spray.

Those don't necessarily lead to criminal charges, said David Magana, airport spokesman. They're always going to lead to civil penalties from the TSA and the federal government.

Records show more weapons were found in Terminal E than anywhere else last year. Terminal E has more check-ins than other terminals, Magana said, since it houses a number of airlines that do not have hubs at D/FW. Other terminals, he added, have more connecting passengers.

Mostly men were caught with prohibited weapons, data showed, and most discoveries happened in the morning.

Gaumond said the TSA's X-ray operators need to be isolated to prevent them distractions.

A TSA spokesman at D/FW would not answer questions about the Kenney case or what, if anything, the agency might do to prevent future slip-ups.

E-mail:jwhitely@wfaa.com

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