WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional investigators say TSA failed to perform many inspections of carriers operating flights from Cuba to the U.S. between 2012 and 2016.

The Government Accountability Office said in a new report that the Transportation Security Administration only performed about half the required inspections on five carriers that investigators studied.

The GAO said that in many cases TSA couldn’t reliably track U.S.-bound charter operations. TSA said it is working to improve tracking

A TSA spokesman said Friday that “external factors” hindered the agency’s ability to perform inspections as often as expected — generally every six to 12 months. The agency told GAO that the Cuban government sometimes asked to reschedule inspections.

The spokesman said TSA followed guidelines to follow up when inspections turned up shortcomings, a point on which the GAO agreed.

Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee requested the GAO study.

Commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba increased after the Obama administration eased restrictions on visiting the island nation in 2016. The Trump administration tightened the rules last year to discourage tourist visits to Cuba, but several U.S. airlines still fly there.


GAO summary: