Report Recommends Increased Employee Screening of Airport Workers to Mitigate Insider Threats

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The House Homeland Security Committee Majority Staff has issued a report entitled ‘America’s Airports: The Threat From Within’ that examines employee screening at the approximately 450 airports in the U.S. under federal control and found that “much more needs to be done to improve the state of access controls and mitigate the insider threat facing America’s aviation sector.”

According to the 21-page report: Approximately 900,000 people work at these airports, and many are able to bypass traditional screening requirements that travelers visiting the airports must endure. While the overwhelming majority of these airport workers take the inherent responsibility seriously, there are increasing concerns that insider threats to aviation security are on the rise.

The report – the result of an investigation conducted by Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee – continued: The Subcommittee has worked closely with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the aviation stakeholder community to examine how we can work together to improve access controls and employee screening at our nation’s airports.

“The recommendations outlined in this report, along with the requirements of the Aviation Employee Screening and Security Enhancement Act of 2017, which I introduced today, will serve as a roadmap for TSA, airports, and air carriers to close security vulnerabilities at our nation’s airports,” Subcommittee Chairman John Katko (R-NY) stated in a press release about the report.

The Subcommittee “found that a majority of airports do not have full employee screening at secure access points” and that these airports “are unable to demonstrate the security effectiveness of their existing employee screening efforts, which consist largely of randomized screening by TSA officers or airport law enforcement personnel,” according to the press release.

The report made nine recommendations that include examining the costs and feasibility of expanded employee screening, educating aviation workers on their role in mitigating insider threats, targeting the use of employee screening to be more strategic, and implementing the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) RapBack Service for all credentialed aviation worker populations.

Recent examples of insider threats discussed in the report include an attempt to detonate a bomb at an airport, gun and drug smuggling, and employees who became involved in terrorist activities overseas. The complete “America’s Airports: The Threat From Within” report is available online at https://homeland.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Americas-Airports-The-Threat-From-Within.pdf.

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