The Slatest

Investigation Finds the TSA Didn’t Catch 73 Terrorism-Linked Airport Employees

Very sneaky, terrorists.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The number one job of the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, is to screen people. The point of this screening is, presumably, to identify “evildoers” both foreign and domestic before they get on airplanes and do evil things on/with them. There is a problem with this so-called screening process, however: The TSA doesn’t appear to be very good at it.

Earlier this month, the agency flunked a test of its own screening of passengers when it failed to stop potential weapons getting through security checkpoints 67 out of 70 times. It turns out, TSA farsightedness is not only a problem when it comes to passengers, but airport employees too. According to a Department of Homeland Security audit, the agency failed to identify 73 airport workers “linked to terrorism.” Or as the report read: “TSA acknowledged that these individuals were cleared for access to secure airport areas despite representing a potential transportation security threat.”

Yes, the TSA is responsible for some two million employees at American airports, but 73 terrorism-linked employees seems like an OK screening success rate for employees at Pizza Hut, not for airport employees. I mean, there’s only so much harm a pepperoni pizza can do to America. How did these 73 slip through the cracks? Here’s how, from USA Today: “The problem was that TSA checks airline and airport applicants and workers against a Department of Homeland Security watch list that isn’t as comprehensive as the government’s terrorist database, according to the department’s inspector general.”