Recently the TSA confirmed that they have been allowing new employees to be hired without completed background checks.
It is unclear if this includes TSA agents themselves or just airport employees, as the statements from TSA officials and the relevant documents are far from clear on the matter.
These background checks have been piling up and now there is a backlog so massive that they have simply decided to continue hiring people without even finding out if they have a criminal history.
Once again I want to highlight the fact that it is not clear if they are hiring agents without background checks or if this only affects other employers of airport personnel, despite somewhat misleading articles which make it seem as though they are definitely hiring agents without security clearances.
The TSA claims that they are processing the background checks as quickly as possible and that they will complete the checks on applicants who are already accepted at a later date, which essentially defeats the entire purpose of the checks.
Even if they are not hiring agents without conducting the proper security checks, they are still allowing questionable individuals into a supposedly “secure” environment, thus making the entire TSA theater utterly pointless.
WBSTV of Atlanta, Georgia obtained an internal security memo (embedded below) from Hartsfield-Jackson International airport which details the new TSA policy, although this is a nationwide shift not restricted to just Hartsfield-Jackson.
Before the policy was changed, individuals had to undergo a criminal background check conducted by the TSA as well as a security threat analysis, but now new hires are allowed access to highly sensitive areas without any check whatsoever.
“The TSA was recently made aware that a newly implemented change to the system used to process airline and airport employee background checks resulted in a delay for requests submitted through the American Association of Airport Executives,” said TSA spokesman Jon Allen. “The cause of the issue was quickly identified, and TSA and AAAE have worked together to implement a solution.”
Allen said that the TSA has given airport employers what he called “interim regulatory relief,” which is a nice way of saying that they are allowing them to hire people without the background checks.
This is what makes me believe that this might actually not extend to agents, but just to airport employers like food vendors, retailers, airline employees, etc.
That being said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the TSA indeed hired people without conducting a background check.
Allen claims that this never actually presented a risk to security, although that makes little to no sense whatsoever and it is quite obvious why someone in Allen’s position would attempt to cover for the agency’s actions. After all, that is precisely what his job is all about.
“At no time was security at risk, and all new employees will still undergo identity verification and be subject to watchlist matching,” Allen claimed.
Of course that has absolutely nothing to do with criminal background checks in the slightest as watchlists and identity verification are entirely different matters.
Representative Paul Broun, a Georgia Republican, was shown the TSA memo and he did not seem pleased at all with what he saw.
“This is a joke,” said Broun. “This letter shows the incompetence of TSA. It shows that they cannot and are not doing their job they were instructed to do through the law.”
Brent Brown, a security expert with Chesley-Brown Security seems to feel somewhat similar and he believes that this policy change could actually pose a threat to the security of airports.
“You can’t put unsecured people or people that you haven’t checked in a secured environment,” Brown pointed out.
“By that very definition, you’ve breached security,” he added.
“TSA has worked closely with the AAAE and the Atlanta Airport to address the delays in processing airport and airline employee background checks. Currently, all requests have been processed and no backlog remains,” a TSA official claimed, referring to the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.
However, the absurdity of this policy is still quite blatant and clearing the backlog does nothing to change the fact that they clearly have no interest in security.
This just goes to show that terrorism is nowhere near the threat the government and agencies like the TSA make it out to be.
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