IG Report: TSA Approved 73 Airport Employees Flagged for Terrorism
At least 73 people who are employed in the airline industry and are linked to terrorism-related activity codes made it past the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) without notice, according to a report released by the inspector general’s office of the Department of Homeland Security.
These employees worked for airlines, airport vendors and other airport-related employers, and they all made it through TSA’s security clearance even though they were on watch lists, the report found.
“TSA did not identify these individuals through its vetting operations because it is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related categories under current interagency watchlisting policy,” the IG report says.
In addition, TSA let the airlines and airports where these people were employed do their own background checks.
“TSA relied on airports to gather complete and accurate information from the credential applicants,” the IG explained.
“According to vetting officials, TSA can only vet workers based on data received from airports. While TSA had made some improvements to its data collection to meet its requirements, TSA lacked assurance that it properly vetted all credential applicants,” it said.
Due to its poor verification process, TSA “risks credentialing and providing unescorted access to secure airport areas for workers with potential to harm the nation’s air transportation system,” the IG added.
In addition, the IG also found that TSA does not have effective controls in place to make sure a potential employee is authorized to work in the United States.
This report comes about a week after TSA administrator Melvin Carraway was reassigned by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson following media reports that TSA did not detect mock explosives and weapons 95 percent of the time when tested by undercover agents.