Insider Threats Pose Risk to Airports; TSA Also ‘Long Overdue for Overhaul’
The majority of nation’s airports do not have full employee screening at secure access points, resulting a serious insider threat vulnerability, and “are unable to demonstrate the security effectiveness of their existing employee screening efforts, which consist largely of randomized screening by Transportation Security Administration [TSA] officers or airport law enforcement personnel,” according to the House Committee on Homeland Security Majority Staff report released Monday, America’s Airports: The Threat From Within.
Disturbingly, the report noted that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General revealed in 2015 that “73 aviation workers with links to terrorism were either currently or recently employed at airports across the United States with access to secure and sterile areas,” and that, “Subsequent oversight efforts revealed that while TSA reviewed each individual and determined whether they were a threat to aviation security, the agency had missed terrorist ties due to a lack of access to certain data sets held by other entities within the US Government. Despite longstanding efforts to be granted access to additional intelligence databases, DHS and TSA were met with resistance and delay by other federal agencies.”
“After media and Congressional pressure,” the report disclosed, “TSA was granted additional access by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence,” but that “some officials within TSA have admitted that more is needed in order to provide sufficiently robust vetting to aviation workers. TSA has dispatched Field Intelligence Officers to educate personnel on the importance of catching prohibited items and conducting proper screening of passengers at the security screening checkpoint; however, the subcommittee has not been made aware of any efforts to bolster agency employee screening operations by informing TSA screeners of the scope and seriousness of the insider threat.”
Read the full article by Anthony Kimery at HSToday.