Documents recently obtained by WFXT-TV through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that 73 private employees at nearly 40 airports nationwide have been identified with potential ties to terrorists.
The 73 reportedly flagged employees still were allowed to work at the airports because the Transportation Security Administration did not yet have access to all of the terrorism-related databases used during the vetting process, a report from the Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office stated last year. Although this original 2015 report did not reveal where the 73 airport workers were employed, since its release, the TSA said that it has been given access to all terror-related databases, according to WFXT.
Charlie Leocha, chairman of the consumer traveler advocacy group Travelers United, told WFXT that the employees, whose identities have not yet been publicly released, could be anyone from a supervisor at an airport store to an airline employee with access to luggage.
“If anyone gets caught at a TSA checkpoint or is working at an airport, then we’ve failed at so many different levels it’ll be catastrophic,” Leocha said.
Michael England, the TSA’s national spokesman, issued a statement in which he claimed that the compiled evidence does not suggest that the 73 DHS employees are on the U.S. government’s consolidated terrorist watch list.
“In fact, DHS utilizes information on the terrorist watch list to screen and vet, including those individuals with access to secure areas of an airport. DHS holds our employees to the highest possible standards and fully vets throughout term of employment,” England said, according to WFXT. “Having automated access to [the terror-related databases] makes it possible for TSA to make more informed security threat assessment decisions for individuals seeking access to critical and sensitive transportation infrastructure. … TSA’s credentialed populations are already vetted, and continually re-vetted, against the Terrorist Screening Database.”
(H/T: Fox News)
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