In a lengthy investigation into security breaches at the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, Dallas-Ft. Worth police made a pretty interesting discovery: The easiest way to subvert security measures designed to prevent hijackings or terrorist acts inside airports is to join the ranks of those hired to do the enforcement.
A supervisor with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is among more than 100 workers on a long list of security officers, industry executives, flight attendants and service contractors alleged to have abused their security clearance privileges over the past two years at the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, helping friends and family members bypass the dragnet of safety checks designed to stop criminals and contraband from making it onto planes.
That dragnet is only as effective as the people managing it, and the motives for the alleged abuses can seem like anything from the simply corrupt — “perks” for families of pilots and airline CEOs who don’t want to wait in long lines, for example — to the inscrutable, such as the unnamed TSA supervisor who allegedly escorted another unnamed worker through an employee door for reasons that aren’t known.
NBC 5 in Dallas reported the numbers:
[R]ecords show most of the recent security violations at DFW were caused by workers with security badges.
Out of more than 140 confirmed security violations in two years — at least 106 were linked to badge holding employees and vendors.
[Airport spokesman David] Magana said the airport is confident its security system catches the vast majority of violators and if any are sneaking through, “that number is very small.”
Aviation Security Consultant Chaim Koppel suspects for every one worker who gets caught as many as two or three abusing their badges manage to get through.
The airport has more than 50,000 employees. That’s a big sea of anonymity to shelter a few rogue TSA agents who sought out the job as the easiest path to hatching a terrorist plan. And if security abuses are going on at DFW, you can bet the same thing’s happening in major airports across the United States.
Think that’s far-fetched? Look at the model citizens who’ve gotten TSA jobs (which start out at $15 per hour for screeners): there are the thieves, the functionally illiterate, the pizza demographic, the perverse, the armed robbers, the rapists, the pedophiles, the junkies, the smugglers, the murderers and the meth cookers.
As one former screener explains, it’s easy to get an entry-level TSA job, and no one’s really watching you once you’ve donned your uniform and affixed your badge.
If you and your buddies wanted to commandeer a plane (whether for jihad or for a joyride), wouldn’t you rather sidestep the laborious terrorist 101 rigmarole in favor of being wined and dined by the Department of Homeland Security’s recruitment process — and rewarded with the sterling security clearance that awaits?