TSA fails to identify 73 employees with links to terrorism

One of the TSA's jobs is to vet airline and airport employees applying for unescorted access to sensitive areas at an airport.  They aren't supposed to approve people with links to terrorism – but they did.

A Homeland Security inspector general's report identified 73 people approved for access with links to terrorism.  This comes on the heels of a report last week that agency employees were able to prevent guns and explosives from being smuggled onboard an aircraft only 5% of the time.

Feel safer now?

The Hill:

The latest report involving the agency identified the 73 individuals after the National Counterterrorism Center compared more than 900,000 records of active aviation workers with those in its database.

Specific terms were redacted, but the report said that “TSA acknowledged that these individuals were cleared for access to secure airport areas despite representing a potential transportation security threat."

The watchdog found that TSA’s failure to identify those linked to terrorism had to do with broader issues with its data, including thousands of files with incomplete or inaccurate employee information. 

Nearly 87,000 files lacked Social Security numbers, something that is not a requirement but is suggested. Thousands lacked passport numbers or citizenship information. 

In 300 employee files, the individual was identified by a single character, instead of a full name. 

In a lengthy response to the audit dated April 24, Carraway agreed with the recommendations put forth by DHS. He noted that TSA vets 2 million aviation workers per year.

I don't care if they have to vet 20 million people; they aren't doing their job if even one employee with ties to terrorism slips through the cracks.  It's a lame excuse to claim that the TSA is too busy to get it right.  We're not talking about employee theft; we're talking about blowing up an airplane.  The fact that the TSA cannot perform its primary mission to keep the public safe is terrifying.

How lucky have we been since 9/11?  With boobs in charge of airline safety, pretty damn lucky, indeed.