New Legislation Aims to Reform TSA Employee Screening

 Airplane

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives – the Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015 – aims to reform and streamline Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee screening procedures for airport and airline workers, according to a press release from Representative John Katko (New York – 24th District).

The legislation for the Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015 follows a series of high profile airline and airport employee security breaches. Representative Katko, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security, has led the Committee’s effort to address TSA employee access control issues.

In the press release, Representative Katko gave as example of TSA screening issues an extensive drug trafficking operation exposed out of the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.  “This incident, along with others over the last few months, have highlighted concerning gaps in employee vetting and screening procedures,” Katko stated.

The Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act of 2015 legislation would:

  • Require TSA to develop procedures for risk-based screening of airport and airline employees.
  • Make critical reforms to the TSA employee screening process to ensure those who have access to U.S. airports do not pose a threat.
  • Provide additional law-enforcement resources to screen employees.
  • Establish an oversight framework to ensure Congress can closely monitor improvements surrounding employee vetting and screening.

A Committee review of TSA operations, policies, and procedures found shortcomings in employee vetting, improper use of employee credentials, and challenges inhibiting employee screening. To learn more, read https://katko.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/response-recent-security-breaches-airports-nationwide-katko-introduces.

As reported by ESR News in June 2015, a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) – TSA Can Improve Aviation Worker Vetting – found that the TSA did not identify 73 individuals with terrorism related category codes. The report is at https://www.oig.dhs.gov/assets/Mgmt/2015/OIG_15-98_Jun15.pdf.

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