Is Transportation Security Administration Screening the Right Candidates?
Feeling secure, whether in your own home or while travelling is an important factor; especially in the light of the various incidents happening all over the world. In the pre-9/11 days, much thought was not given to transportation security, but that is not the case now. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created by the Congress, after the 9/11 attacks, to provide extra security to the nation’s transportation system, especially air traffic. The government spends billions annually for the maintenance of this organization that employs about 65,000 people.
The TSA has been doing a good job, most of the time, but like any other agency that employs thousands, there have been a few flaws. Most TSA applicants include retired police officers, military veterans, and those with previous security experience and regardless of their experience, each applicant is put through a rigorous TSA criminal background check and a security threat analysis because if hired they will have access to many high risk areas which are otherwise off limits to the public.
While TSA is no longer on a mass hiring spree like the early 2000s, it announced in April 2012 that it was facing a huge amount of backlog in the employee background checks done through the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). This delay forced the TSA to allow airport employers to hire people without proper background screening. No details have been divulged about which airports have hired people without proper screening, but information has been reported that the backlog has now been cleared.
Recently, the TSA has been under scrutiny again for slacking in its background screening measures. For instance, they were amidst a controversy for having hired a defrocked priest who had been ousted from the ministry upon allegations of sexual abuse.
While it is important to hire as many employees as is required to keep our airports safe and functioning, it is of utmost importance to take the time to choose the right people for the job. Given the sensitive nature of the job, it is mandatory that each applicant pass a set of thorough background checks before being handed an appointment letter.