The news about security failures comes at a time when millions of people are getting ready to travel for the holidays.
The program started in July and has slowly expanded across the country to 280 airports in response to what the Department of Homeland Security calls increased threats to aviation security. "From all the things you see on TV, it's scary I guess".
Frank Cilluffo, a former director of the Homeland Security advisory council, said as long as terrorists target airports, the TSA can not be complacent.
The TSA was tested recently to see if its screeners, equipment and security procedures were up to par - and the agency failed miserably, with an estimated success rate of about 20 percent, a report says.
Clandestine checkers successfully snuck mock explosives, knives and guns through airport security on more than 70 percent of attempts, CBS News reported.
During a public hearing following a classified briefing about the report, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said, "Quite frankly, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we found that briefing disturbing".
While we saw a man breach an airport in a video this week, these tests looked at checkpoints, smuggling items through.
When investigators did the same thing two years earlier, TSA equipment and personnel failed 95 percent of the time, prompting major changes in the agency, training academy for screening officers and updated procedures so that security could be more thorough.
Pekoske said TSA continues to embrace developments in technology, including use of CT scanners that provide a three-dimensional image in the Phoenix and Boston airports.
Even so, experts say airports remain a high priority target for terrorists.
The agency received eight classified recommendations. We need to make sure that we can push that as far as we can to minimize the risk, said Frank Cilluffo who is the former director the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
"We take the OIG's findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints", said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement.