TSA tightens screening of airport employees to enhance security at US airports

20 April 2015 (Last Updated April 20th, 2015 18:30)

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will tighten security measures across the country’s airports following the December 2014 arrest of a baggage handler in Atlanta on gun smuggling charges.

DeltaThe US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will tighten security measures across the country's airports following the December 2014 arrest of a baggage handler in Atlanta on gun smuggling charges.

The new measures will see extra security checking for US airport workers.

Apart from the increased screenings, airport workers will also be subjected to random security checks throughout their workday, according to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The enhanced security measures are the result of a 90-day Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) comprehensive review conducted in January 2015.

The December 2014 incident involved a baggage handler from Delta Air Lines smuggling 18 handguns onto a flight from Atlanta to New York City.

"TSA increased the random and unpredictable screening of aviation workers at various airport access points to mitigate potential security vulnerabilities."

Johnson said in a statement: "Immediately following the incident in December 2014, TSA increased the random and unpredictable screening of aviation workers at various airport access points to mitigate potential security vulnerabilities."

Under the new rules, every two years airport employees will be required to go through fingerprint-based Criminal History Records Checks.

Every airport employee travelling as passengers will be screened by TSA before their journey.

Only an operational minimum number of employees will be given access to secured areas with a reduction in the number of access points.

TSA also said they will pay greater importance to its 'If You See Something, Say Something' initiative to strengthen situational awareness and encourage detection and reporting of threat activity.

Johnson also added that he has directed the TSA to continue analysing the recommendations made by the ASAC report to recognise additional security measures.


Image: A security counter for Delta at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Photo: courtesy of Atlantacitizen via Wikipedia.