The email, sent to TSA officers in more than 100 states, asked for employees to move from their home airports to those staffers with low staffing, an indication agency even more callouts for bracing.
The email is the latest example of increasing anxiety within TSA about the growing number of callouts as employees to miss a second paycheck this week. Ten percent of TSA's workforce had unexcused absences on Sunday, the agency said.
According to the email and a TSA official familiar with its contents
Email according to all members of the agency's National Deployment team, a rapid response team comprising of TSA officers can be sent to airports across the country to fill the staffing gap, already dispatched. The team was used to patch up gaps at airports in Atlanta, New York, Chicago and the other part as partial government shutdown its fifth week in length.
The Atlanta airport, already the world's busiest, is preparing for an influx of travelers in just under two weeks when the city hosts the Super Bowl.
The deployment team fluctuates in size based on the conditions and needs, said TSA spokesman Jim Gregory.
"We are working every day to ensure our checkpoints are fully covered nationalwide and always are welcoming new volunteers," Gregory said, noting the employees would not pay the end of the shutdown. "Our workforce is incredibly mission-focused, and we've had hundreds of the answer."
The volunteers would probably come from airports that have not faced strain from callouts.
A similar request made last week netted the agency at least 160 volunteers, the email said.
In the second sign of how badly the volunteers were required, the email reminds TSA officials. According to the email, officers will use their government-issued credit cards for meals and incidentals, but those credit card payments will not have made the government reopens.
Gregory said the agency is working to reduce the security checkpoints and lanes but acknowledged that the government shutdown continues.
"In coordination with the airlines and airport authorities, our federal security directors will implement contingency plans as necessary, which could mean the lane closures." He said, "We have seen very few lane closures across the nation so far," he said.
The number of TSA officers have been raised in recent days.
After callouts hit 10% on Sunday nationwide, according to TSA, 7.5% of employees called out Monday, compared to 3.3% on the same Monday a year ago.
"Many employees are reporting that they are not able to report on financial limitations," TSA said in a statement.