TSA Missed 73 Workers on Terror Watchlist

Kevork Djansezian / Reuters

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) arm patch and shield is seen at Los Angeles International Airport, California February 20, 2014. U.S. authorities issued a warning on Wednesday to airlines flying to the United States to watch out for militants who may have hidden bombs in their shoes, U.S. government sources said.

At least 73 individuals employed in the airline industry should have been disqualified and flagged under terrorism-related activity codes by the TSA, a newly released report by Department of Homeland Security's inspector general shows. They were employed as airport vendors and by major airlines, in part because the TSA "is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related categories under current interagency watchlisting policy." The report says that the TSA delegated the vetting of potential hires to commercial airports, who relied on incomplete application data—such as only first initials, or missing Social Security numbers. "TSA lacked assurance that it properly vetted all credential applicants," the report concludes. At the same time, the report praised the TSA's use of existing information to re-vet aviation employees against existing watchlists, including the fact that the agency nominated 300 people to such lists.