Thursday, November 22, 2001

BOSTON (AP) A baggage-screening company that was fired from Boston’s airport for hiring criminals and allowing security breaches was ordered reinstated by a judge.
Superior Court Judge Allen van Gestel issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday after Argenbright Security Inc. argued that the law entitled it to notice and a hearing before its license could be revoked.
Argenbright, the nation’s biggest airport-security company, conducts screenings at checkpoints for Delta, US Airways and America West at Boston’s Logan International Airport, from which the flights of the hijacked airliners that slammed into the World Trade Center originated.
“I feel very comfortable that the way the law is written, we’ll prevail in court,” said state police Col. John DiFava, Logan’s director of security. He revoked the Atlanta-based company’s license on Nov. 15.
The injunction had no immediate practical effect. When Argenbright was fired, it was allowed to operate at Logan until a Nov. 30 administrative hearing.
Argenbright had no comment yesterday.
Col. DiFava said he had been unaware that Argenbright pleaded guilty last year in Philadelphia to violating federal rules on aviation security, including hiring convicted felons. It paid a $1 million fine, was placed on probation and agreed to conduct employee-background checks.
He said he recently learned that Argenbright violated its probation last month by failing to conduct employee-background checks required by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“The law says if you are a felon, you can’t have a license,” Col. DiFava said.
Col. DiFava was appointed by acting Gov. Jane Swift as Logan’s interim public-safety director in October after several embarrassing security breaches.
In late September, a traveler walked from a parking garage to a US Airways gate without going through a metal detector because Argenbright employees left a checkpoint unattended.
Two weeks ago, an Argenbright employee left an exit door at a Delta concourse unattended for four minutes.

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