TSA Finds 73 Workers on the Terrorist Watchlist in 2015

TSA Finds 73 Workers on the Terrorist Watchlist in 2015

Background

TSA’s multi-layered process to vet aviation workers for potential links to terrorism was generally effective. In addition to initially vetting every application for new credentials, TSA recurrently vetted aviation workers with access to secured areas of commercial airports every time the Consolidated Terrorist Watchlist was updated. However, our testing showed that TSA did not identify 73 individuals with terrorism-related category codes because TSA is not authorized to receive all
terrorism-related information under current interagency watchlisting policy.

TSA had less effective controls in place for ensuring that aviation workers 1) had not committed crimes that would disqualify them from having unescorted access to secure airports areas, and 2) had lawful status and were authorized to work in the United States. In general, TSA relied on airport operators to perform criminal history and work authorization checks, but had limited oversight over these commercial entities. Thus, TSA lacked assurance that it properly vetted all
credential applicants.

Further, thousands of records used for vetting workers contained potentially incomplete or inaccurate data, such as an initial for a first name and missing social security numbers. TSA did not have appropriate edit checks in place to reject such records from vetting. Without complete and accurate information, TSA risks credentialing and providing unescorted access to secure airport areas for workers with potential to harm the nation’s air transportation system.

The Investigation

 TSA Can Improve Aviation Worker Vetting, June 4, 2015 [36 Pages, 5.3MB]

 

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