One week after it was reported that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) failed 95 percent of tests involving the smuggling of firearms through airport security checkpoints, a startling bit of news reveals that dozens of employees in the airline industry were actually on the terror watchlist.
According to a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s report released last week, the agency’s screening system failed to flag 73 airport workers, even though they were “linked to terrorism.”
“The TSA did not identify these individuals through its vetting operations because it is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related categories under current interagency watch-listing policy,” the report said.
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Fox News explains how these employees fell through the cracks:
To test the accuracy and effectiveness of TSA’s terrorism vetting procedures, the National Counterterrorism Center was asked to match more than 900,000 records of active aviation workers against its Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database.
According to the report, the TSA had been unable to find 73 individuals ‘linked to terrorism’ because the information the TSA received from the Department of Homeland Security Watchlist Service and used for vetting did not contain the terrorism ‘codes’ associated with the 73 individuals. In other words, TSA did not have the entire terror watchlist.
Some parts of the IG report, including codes, were redacted.
Overall, the report concluded, the vetting and re-vetting procedures that TSA used were ‘generally effective’ in identifying workers with links to terrorism. Since 2003, the agency has advised airports to deny or revoke 58 airport workers as a result of its vetting process for credential applicants and holders.
Last week, ABC News reported on TSA security failures “at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports” which enabled “undercover investigators… to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials.”
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In the wake of the report, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson reassigned Acting TSA Administrator Melvin Carraway to the department’s Office of State and Local Law Enforcement. Acting Deputy Director Mark Hatfield will take over the TSA until a new acting administrator is appointed.
Are you troubled by what is going on at the TSA? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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