Report calls for stronger security checks on airport workers

14 Feb 2017 by Tom Otley
Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee chairman Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.)

U.S. airports and airlines need to step up security screening of airport workers in order to prevent an “inside job” terrorist attack, according to a new report from the Republican staff at the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.

The two-year investigation led by Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee chairman Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) found that “a majority of airports do not have full employee screening at secure access points.”

The report concluded that while some progress has been made, “the aviation community appeared to be disturbingly disengaged from the threat posed by bad actors inside an airport’s secure areas.”

“These airports 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 report titled, America’s Airports: The Threat From Within.

The report also cited inconsistencies in how airports and airlines educate workers with security credentials about accessing secure areas and reporting suspicious behavior.

“At a time when we face increased threats from homegrown radicalization and lone-wolf terrorism, we must ensure that our airport access controls are strong and that we are doing all we can to mitigate the insider threat to aviation security,” said Katko, who noted, “Our nation’s aviation system is interconnected, and we are only as secure as our least secure airport.”

Katko also unveiled a bill, the Aviation Employee Screening and Security Enhancement Act of 2017, intended to address the security shortfalls identified in the report.

The report is available here

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