The variety of potential insider threats at airports, and the range of programs that TSA uses to counter them, “makes it challenging for the agency to synchronize and integrate activities across offices,” GAO has said.
In a blog post following up on a report issued earlier this year, GAO said that TSA has to guard against both intentional and unintentional harm to security of airports not on from its own employees but also among some 1.8 million others who work at airports.
“Such harm could take the form of a screener who willfully allows a bag of drugs through the X-ray machine; an aircraft mechanic who sabotages passenger safety equipment; or an airport worker who carries a bag of firearms through a restricted-access door to a passenger. TSA is on the lookout for all of them,” it said.
For the TSA’s own employees, efforts include pre-employment screening such as checking whether the applicant has previously applied for employment with the Department of Homeland Security and checking the applicant’s credit history. Airports and air carriers also are increasingly conducting more rigorous background checks and randomized worker screenings, while many airports are using sophisticated controls access control techniques such as fingerprint readers, it said.
“These efforts to keep our airports secure require coordination across multiple offices and committees within TSA,” GAO said, and the agency “would benefit from a strategic plan or roadmap for the insider threat program.”