- Easter worshippers shocked as car rams church, injuring 21
- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
TSA not collecting accurate threat assessment data on job applicants
GAO report involves screening center
The Transportation Security Administration is not collecting adequate data to determine whether a key screening center is producing timely and accurate threat assessments, according to a recent government report.
The Government Accountability Office report was released amid warnings of potential al Qaeda activity in the Middle East and Africa that have prompted the closure of dozens of Western embassies and diplomatic outposts.
Part of the TSA’s duties is to oversee the vetting and credentialing of people who transport hazardous materials or have access to secure areas at airports and harbors. The process includes ensuring that applicants qualify to possess credentials based on background checks for criminal offenses, immigration status and links to terrorism.
According to a report dated July 19, GAO auditors analyzed data since October 2010 from TSA’s Adjudication Center, which uses contractors to help screen airline workers. The center bases its performance on the timeliness in completing assessments, the accuracy of those assessments and the status of its caseloads.
But auditors report that the center faces “challenges in meeting its caseload measure.”
In addition, “the Adjudication Center’s timeliness and accuracy measures did not capture key data,” the GAO report says.
The center’s accuracy rate is based on a review of all cases in which an applicant was disqualified but does not include cases in which an applicant was approved, the report says, noting that approvals account for about 90 percent of the Adjudication Center’s caseload.
“By developing an accuracy rate that includes data on both incorrectly disqualified and incorrectly approved applicants, TSA can better identify and address performance issues among its workforce,” the GAO says.
The TSA has conducted about 15 million background checks since 2003 to “reduce the probability of a successful terrorist or other criminal attack on the nation’s transportation systems, which include approximately 360 seaports and 450 TSA-regulated airports,” the report says.
In December 2011, the GAO found that understaffing had led to backlogs in security checks and the inability to provide necessary oversight in the credential decision-making process, which TSA blamed on turnover among its contractor workforce and a lack of “sufficiently trained contract adjudicators.”
TSA officials said the Adjudication Center had used three contractors since 2005, which led to backlogs as adjudicators were hired and trained.
Data reviewed from October 2010 to January this year showed that the TSA had a backlog of hazardous materials endorsement workers 60 percent of the time, and transportation worker identification credentials 61 percent of the time. There was also a backlog of aviation worker cases about 15 percent of the time from October 2010 through March 2012.
In October 2011, a TSA working group determined that “an excessive risk” exists by allowing contractors to make security threat assessment approvals without sufficient federal oversight, and it recommended that the TSA convert to an all-government workforce.
The TSA planned to convert its workforce by the end of this year, but the plan has been delayed without a revised deadline, the report says.
Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said al Qaeda and its affiliates will seek to exploit any vulnerability in the U.S. transportation system.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Despite Pentagon cuts and eye on Pacific, Air Force implored to save the 'Warthog'
- Pentagon welcomes budget deal but says more defense spending needed
- Rep. Hunter to Pentagon: Don't lower combat standards for women
- Scientists raise alarm over plan to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- In Colorado, a marijuana holiday tries to go mainstream
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- CURL: Shelly O first lady Michelle Obama comes in last
- UNICEF launches 'Mr. Poo' mascot in India to curb public defecation
- See the scathing documents detailing $600 billion squandered in Afghanistan
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.