US Department of Homeland Security tightens screening requirements for airport staff


28 April 2015

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has tightened screening requirements for airport and airline employees, following a three-month review triggered by allegations of gun-smuggling by airline employees in 2014. The changes mean that all airport and airline employees travelling as passengers in the US will have to endure TSA security screening. Aviation workers will also have to submit to a “fingerprint-based criminal history records check” every two years, until the TSA can create a real-time system for criminal background checks. In addition, airports will have to reduce the number of ways to access secure areas to an “operational minimum.” Aviation employees will also be screened more often, including randomly throughout the workday. This additional screening won’t be “100% physical,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement, because it would “not completely eliminate potential risks, but would divert critical resources from other critical security functions to mitigate other risks.” In the gun-smuggling case, authorities said that four men, including a Delta Air Lines baggage handler, were able to smuggle guns from Atlanta to New York on board aircraft, including getting the guns through security. One of the defendants was reported to have been travelling using the “buddy pass” privileges of his mother, a retired Delta gate agent.

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