U.S. Airports Exposed As Weak Links in Fight Against Terror, Background Checks Almost Non-Existent
A month after authorities at the Brussels’ airport released the shocking revelation that at least 50 ISIS family members and supporters had been employed at the airport in sensitive positions, like baggage handling, which entitled them to security badges gaining them access to airplanes, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has admitted that only three airports in the United States require workers to undergo security checks.
Those airports – Atlanta, Miami and Orlando – require employees to undergo security checks before work, but the other 300 do not.
The shocking revelation came in testimony before Congress and only weeks after a media source reported that employees at American airports have also been found to have potential ties to terrorism.
Government records found at least 73 employees at more than 30 airports around the United States had been flagged in a June 2015 report issued by the DHS Inspector General’s Office, including four at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, six at Seattle-Tacoma International in Washington State, and two at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
The two hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Center Towers in New York on September 11, 2001 originated from the Boston airport.
When asked for an explanation for its failure to identify the terror ties of the applicants before they were hired, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it was unable to access the terrorism-related database.
In each of the cases cited in the 2015 report, the airport employees in question were able to used security badges to gain access to sensitive areas without going through additional background checks.
The revelations come just as employee run gun- and drug-running operations at Hartsfield and airports in New York and San Francisco were discovered.
Following his testimony, TSA chief Robert Neffenger, promised the Congressional committee the agency will provide a report to them assessing the vulnerabilities of the employee security systems by the end of the month.