73 workers with potential terror ties approved for secure area access
By Shepard Ambellas
(INTELLIHUB) — The Transportation Security Administration’s vetting procedure which screens airline industry workers for any ties to terrorism or criminal activity was found to be only “generally effective” in most cases, leaving open a good margin for error, thus leaving travelers and the general public at risk.
In fact the report details how a shocking 73 workers, most employed by “major airlines” or “airport vendors”, with potential terror, criminal, or legal ‘red flags’ were found by the investigators to have been allowed access to secure areas of airports across the United States.
TSA had less effective controls in place for ensuring that aviation workers 1) had not committed crimes that would
disqualify them from having unescorted access to secure airports areas, and 2) had lawful status and were authorized to work in the United States. In general, TSA relied on airport operators to perform criminal history and work authorization checks, but had limited oversight over these commercial entities. Thus, TSA lacked assurance that it properly vetted all credential applicants.
Further, thousands of records used for vetting workers contained potentially incomplete or inaccurate data, such as an initial for a first name and missing social security numbers. TSA did not have appropriate edit checks in place to reject such records from vetting. Without complete and accurate information, TSA risks credentialing and providing unescorted access to secure airport areas for workers with potential to harm the nation’s air transportation system.
Interestingly enough the TSA was in fact aware these 73 individuals may have posed a security risk to both travelers and the general public and apparently disregarded the threat.
Six new recommendations for the TSA have been made by the DHS along with the report.