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USA Today: Airports object to latest background checks

USA Today: Airports object to latest background checks

Old Oct 23, 07, 2:43 am
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USA Today: Airports object to latest background checks

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WASHINGTON A security policy that mandates government background checks of new airport hires, including sales clerks, waiters and custodians, is drawing protests from some airports that say they can't hire workers because clearances take so long.

Two leading airport associations asked the Transportation Security Administration to rescind or revise the policy that took effect Oct. 1 in a TSA effort to improve scrutiny of airport workers.

"The new process is not working," Airports Council International President Greg Principato said in a letter Thursday to TSA chief Kip Hawley. "Businesses are contemplating shutting down because of the inability to bring on new employees."

TSA spokesman Ellen Howe said the agency is working with the council and the American Association of Airport Executives to end the delays. She said they are caused by technical difficulties sending job applicants' personal information to the TSA through the airport association's computer network.

"When you start something new, it's going to take a little time to work it out," Howe said. "But we aren't going to back down on vetting people."
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Old Oct 23, 07, 8:33 am
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It's not exactly a quick process when it goes directly to TSA, either....
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Old Oct 23, 07, 11:44 am
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The problem is that a quick vetting process inevitably is a fairly useless one in terms of providing any assurance of security. You can check their credit history and criminal background in no time flat, but anything more will take time.

I'm not advocating the delays... just pointing out that if the TSA actually wants to do thorough background checks, they're not going to be able to do them quickly without hiring a ton of new people themselves to handle it. The DSS currently takes up to two years to process SSBIs for even just collateral DoD clearances, for example, and I suspect they have a lot more resources available than does the TSA.

In the end, if they want just a criminal history check + credit check, it should be able to be done in minutes, literally. Any other delays there are the fault of the TSA's process. Now, the TSA has to ask if such a limited check is actually in-depth enough for "security" (whatever that means in this context).
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Old Oct 23, 07, 1:27 pm
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Simple solution...

1) don't let the TSA do the checks - the FBI can do them faster, easier and more accurately

2) airports can create two classes of badge - one for sterile access and one for non-sterile access. The non-sterile access badges either won't need a background check or can get away with a simplified one. The employees needing sterile access would undergo the more vigilant FBI check
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Old Oct 23, 07, 2:35 pm
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What I don't understand is why TSA needs to do a background check of airport workers? Why isn't it the responsibility of the airport and airlines themselves?

I thought TSA was just responsible for screening passengers and workers for dangerous items/contraband, but that the airport management was responsible for background checks?
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Old Oct 23, 07, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
What I don't understand is why TSA needs to do a background check of airport workers? Why isn't it the responsibility of the airport and airlines themselves?

I thought TSA was just responsible for screening passengers and workers for dangerous items/contraband, but that the airport management was responsible for background checks?
Justification for more personnel and a larger budget - gotta do things to prove the need for the organization and more money or they get less money next go around. Gotta love the responsible way the Fed spends our money.
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Old Oct 23, 07, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by DevilDog438 View Post
Justification for more personnel and a larger budget - gotta do things to prove the need for the organization and more money or they get less money next go around. Gotta love the responsible way the Fed spends our money.
I know that they need a larger budget and all, but why isn't the responsibility up to the airport? Why does it have to be TSA? And, what's wrong with a simple criminal background check like they do?

I think TSA needs to chill out a bit.
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Old Oct 23, 07, 2:45 pm
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Also, the words "terrorist ties" bother me a lot. Last time I checked, we're innocent until proven guilty. How do they define "terrorist ties"?
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Old Oct 23, 07, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Andy1369 View Post
Last time I checked, we're innocent until proven guilty.
Unfortunately, no longer true, especially in airports, except in theory.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 7:05 am
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I don't get why an old OUIL conviction means that a person cannot be trusted to flip burgers at a McDonalds behind security. Sorry!
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Old Oct 24, 07, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by Dubai Stu View Post
I don't get why an old OUIL conviction means that a person cannot be trusted to flip burgers at a McDonalds behind security. Sorry!
The one thing I can think of is that the McDonald's at MHT is both before and beyond security (two seating areas, and in the kitchen, employees from the non-sterile side pass the food over to the sterile side through an open window, which might be monitored by camera but isn't scanned or anything. So you can send things over to the sterile side, with no metal detector or liquid security, if you put it in a McDonald's bag. That requires, of course, that you first get a job at McDonald's at MHT...and so I think security in hiring there is an issue. But for restaurants that are completely before security it's not as big a deal IMO.
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Old Oct 24, 07, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by CollegeFlyer View Post
The one thing I can think of is that the McDonald's at MHT is both before and beyond security (two seating areas, and in the kitchen, employees from the non-sterile side pass the food over to the sterile side through an open window, which might be monitored by camera but isn't scanned or anything. So you can send things over to the sterile side, with no metal detector or liquid security, if you put it in a McDonald's bag. That requires, of course, that you first get a job at McDonald's at MHT...and so I think security in hiring there is an issue. But for restaurants that are completely before security it's not as big a deal IMO.
Why would it matter either way? Any employee on the sterile side has to pass through security, just as passengers do. Passengers aren't subject to a "background check", so you are already freely allowing people who would "flunk" this check into the "sterile" area anyway, so what difference does it make?
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Old Oct 24, 07, 10:11 pm
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Originally Posted by CollegeFlyer View Post
The one thing I can think of is that the McDonald's at MHT is both before and beyond security (two seating areas, and in the kitchen, employees from the non-sterile side pass the food over to the sterile side through an open window, which might be monitored by camera but isn't scanned or anything. So you can send things over to the sterile side, with no metal detector or liquid security, if you put it in a McDonald's bag. That requires, of course, that you first get a job at McDonald's at MHT...and so I think security in hiring there is an issue. But for restaurants that are completely before security it's not as big a deal IMO.
Was just through there last night. The window is alarmed, requiring an access card and key code to open. In addition, they do not pass the food through in a bag. They use a tray and the employee on the sterile side is supposed to bag the items. There is also a checklist above the window on both sides describing the procedures they are supposed to follow. Did not notice if there were any cameras in direct line of sight.
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Old Dec 18, 10, 10:00 pm
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The US Transportation Security Administration, in the midst of a rapid rollout of Advanced Imaging Technology body-scanning machines at checkpoints, needs to be more cognizant of airports' concerns, Airports Council International-North America President Greg Principato told Congress.

The Senate Commerce and Transportation Committee's aviation subcommittee held a hearing Dec. 2 in response to what TSA Administrator John Pistole called a "media frenzy" in the US last month over the deployment of AIT machines and the use of enhanced pat-downs at checkpoints. TSA has revamped aviation security over the 11-plus months since the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound A330 last Dec. 25 and airports fear there has not been enough careful thinking about the consequences of the changes.

"Although TSA coordinated closely with the airlines in the immediate aftermath of the attempted [12/25] bombing, it did not coordinate as effectively with airports," Principato testified, noting that mandates to body scan or pat down every US-bound passenger in the weeks after the failed bombing gave Toronto Pearson "no choice but to work with airlines to cancel 25% of their flights to the United States [in the weeks immediately following 12/25]…Although Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had several meetings with airline representatives and their associations after the Christmas Day bombing attempt, there was little coordination or information sharing between DHS and the airport industry."
Airports seek better cooperation with TSA as body-scanning machines are deployed

Last edited by essxjay; Dec 18, 10 at 11:29 pm Reason: Trimmed for copyright respects
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Old Dec 18, 10, 10:05 pm
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That's a very impressive bump.
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