Homeland Security Reports on Lax Employee Screening of Airport Workers

A recently released report (February 6, 2017), issued by the House Homeland Security Committee Majority Staff, has highlighted concerns about the way workers in U.S.-based airports are screened and the consequent risk of insider threat. After examining employee screening practices at the United States’ 450 airports, the conclusion was, essentially, that “much more needs to be done” to improve airport security.

The Report

The report, entitled America’s Airports: The Threat from Within, found that of the 900,000 airport workers currently employed in the aviation sector, many are able to forego certain traditional screening requirements meant to protect employer, employee, consumer, and the nation at large.

John Katko (R-NY), Subcommittee Chairman, issued an outline of recommendations designed to “close security vulnerabilities at our nation’s airports” with the collaborative efforts of the TSA and the aviation stakeholder community. Essentially, these recommendation will bolster employee screening practices at secure access points, as opposed to the current method of randomized screening.

Of the nine recommendations included in the report, there are:

  • examining the costs and feasibility of expanded employee screening
  • education aviation workers on their role in mitigating insider threats
  • targeting the use of employee screening to be more strategic
  • implementing the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s RapBack Service for all credentialed aviation worker populations

A Real Concern

The concern of insider threat is punctuated by recent events at our nation’s airports that include instances of drug and gun smuggling, an attempt to detonate a bomb at an airport, and employees who were affiliated with terrorist activities overseas, all of which are discussed in the report.

What This Means for You

Though your own organization may not affect the nation’s security as obviously as the aviation sector does, what screening practices have you employed to address your own concerns for insider threat to your company’s safety and interests?

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