A fresh report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) voices concern that lone-wolf attacks could be carried out at US airports by individuals with access to secure areas, such as employees, who currently number around 900,000 people.
The report warns that there are currently no security mechanisms in place to prevent these kinds of attacks. Weak screening procedures contribute to these worries, as only three airports across the country – Miami and Orlando in Florida, and Atlanta International in Georgia – carry out a 100-percent screenings of their employees and their belongings.
Other airports only carry out random screenings.
Compounding this fear, the DHS has intercepted numerous communications between would-be attackers and found many that discussed a whole plethora of ways to cause serious damage.
Excerpts of Report :
IDENTIFYING THE THREAT
In the months following a series of high pro le incidents of aviation workers involved in criminal activity, the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security (the Subcommittee) launched an extensive, bipartisan investigation into nearly every aspect of airport access controls and employee vetting and screening. Access controls, the capabilities and systems in place to safeguard access to sensitive areas, and the means by which employees are screened at airports were shown to be a source of vulnerability to securing the aviation sector. Through hearings, brie ngs, stakeholder meetings, legislation, and site visits, the Subcommittee evaluated the aviation community’s security capabilities and understanding of the threat environment. We now have introduced a new piece of legislation, the Aviation Employee Screening and Security Enhancement Act of 2017, which we believe will signi cantly assist in mitigating the insider threat………………………………………………………….The sheer diversity among American airports makes security standardization a daunting task. The costs and risks associated with potential disruptions to aviation operations by instituting new security protocols remain a constant worry. Conflict between industry and government stakeholders often impedes needed improvements to aviation security. Furthermore, industry stakeholders are not sufficiently supported in their e orts by their government partners in security………..
According to the Government Accountability O ce (GAO), TSA o cials have long acknowledged the potential threat from airport workers, but deemed the threat a “known and accepted risk.”2 Several years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, TSA conducted only random worker screening at airports throughout the U.S. According to the GAO, when Federal Security Directors (FSDs), the top TSA o cials serving in the eld at individual airports, voiced their concerns pertaining to insider threats, they were told background checks conducted on airport workers were an adequate safeguard against any potential insider threats. It was not until March 2005 when the Aviation Direct Access Screening Program (ADASP) was implemented that TSA introduced a security screening program for airport employees.3 The ADASP was designed to detect items such as improvised explosive devises (IEDs), explosives, ammunition, incendiaries, rearms, hazardous materials and suspicious materials or substances.4
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