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The majority of airports in the US do not have full employee screening at secure access points, resulting a serious insider threat to airport security. Furthermore, they “are unable to demonstrate the security effectiveness of their existing employee screening efforts, which consist largely of randomized screening by Transportation Security Administration [TSA] officers or airport law enforcement personnel,” warns the House Committee on Homeland Security Majority Staff in its new report, America’s Airports: The Threat From Within.

The report stated that “access controls, the capabilities and systems in place to safeguard access to sensitive areas and the means by which employees are screened at airports were shown to be a source of vulnerability to securing the aviation sector.”

The report noted that already in 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General revealed that “73 aviation workers with links to terrorism were either currently or recently employed at airports across the United States with access to secure and sterile areas,” and that, “subsequent oversight efforts revealed that while TSA reviewed each individual and determined whether they were a threat to aviation security, the agency had missed terrorist ties due to a lack of access to certain data sets held by other entities within the US Government.

Despite longstanding efforts to be granted access to additional intelligence databases, DHS and TSA were met with resistance and delay by other federal agencies.”

The report disclosed that the TSA was finally granted additional access to information but that “some officials within TSA have admitted that more is needed in order to provide sufficiently robust vetting to aviation workers”, according to

The report pointed out that of the approximately 900,000 people who work at the 450 airports in the United States under federal supervision and control, “many are able to bypass traditional screening requirements that travelers visiting the airports must endure. While the overwhelming majority of these airport workers take the inherent responsibility seriously, there are increasing concerns that insider threats to aviation security are on the rise.”

One of the lectures at the recent iHLS Big Data conference referred, among other things, to analytics solutions focusing on the detection and prevention of attacks carried by insiders.