Investigation Reveals That Most Airport Security Incidents Come From Its Own Workers

TSA Airport Security

A recent NBC 5 investigation into security violations at Dallas-Fort Worth airport found that a shocking number of them come from employees or vendors with security badges.

According to the station’s investigation, of the 140 incidents in the past two years, more than 75 per cent were from employees or vendors with security badges.

Here are some examples of employees caught in the act:

  • An off-duty worker for Continental Airlines used his badge at a cargo facility in order to use a van — in lieu of the terminal — to cut across the airport with his family.
  • Fred Cleveland, chief operating officer of American Eagle Airlines, recently had his badge seized for bringing his wife through the employee entry point.
  • An American Airlines pilot tried to use his badge off-duty, saying “he was aware of the protocol,” when he was caught, “but he wanted to avoid the long lines at the checkpoints.”

The security lapses raise more questions for airport security, following a March report in the New York Post that detailed numerous security violations at Newark Airport.

The front line of airport security is in the Transportation Security Administration, but one former Newark screener told the Post that was a “make-believe” idea, especially when the average screener makes less than $15 an hour.

He wrote in the Post:

An agent got through Newark last week with an improvised explosive device? That’s not even news to anyone who works there. It happens all the time. The failure rate is pretty high, especially with federal investigators, and the pat-down itself is ridiculous. As invasive as it is, you still can’t find anything using the back of your hand on certain areas.

When there are internal tests, conducted by the Newark training department, it’s easy to cheat because they use our co-workers. You could be working with someone all morning, and then they’re gone. Word gets around the checkpoint. Someone will come over to you and say, “Hey, it’s Joe. He’s got a blue duffel bag.”

Employees who hold airport badges have all submitted to background checks, so the TSA tends to focus more on airline travellers. 

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