An internal review by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has revealed that the 73 aviation workers with alleged terror links did not pose any threat to the country’s transportation security.
A recent report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had found that TSA had failed to identify 73 aviation workers with potential terror ties as it did not have access to the complete terror watchlist.
The audit had also found that thousands of the necessary biographical records held by the TSA were either missing or incomplete and the agency has failed to detect terrorism-related codes associated with several of their names.
TSA Office of Intelligence and Analysis deputy assistant administrator Stacey Fitzmaurice was quoted by USA Today as saying that the agency re-checked the suspected individuals, but failed to find any threat.
"To be clear, these individuals are not considered to be known or suspected terrorists. The individuals do not pose a threat to transportation security."
According to Fitzmaurice, the lapse in TSA’s screening of aviation workers could be a result of lack of access to government watch lists including Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database.
As a result, lawmakers have urged TSA to gain access to the broader government intelligence database. TSA is likely to get access to the data by the end of the year.
With the aim of tightening the country’s aviation security and improving the vetting of aviation workers, the House Committee on Homeland Security chairman Michael McCaul said the agency was considering introducing legislation that would improve information sharing between the TSA and other governmental bodies.