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"Hundreds of ID badges and uniform items reported missing by TSA since '03"
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Hundreds of items reported missing by TSA since '03
The Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO - More than 1,400 identification badges and uniform items have
been reported lost or stolen from Transportation Security Administration
employees since 2003, according to documents obtained by a San Antonio
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport led Texas with 42 items missing, followed by
Houston's Bush International with 18, the station reported.
Los Angeles and Chicago airports topped the list nationwide of missing
WOAI-TV received the documents under the Freedom of Information Act.
Terrorism experts said that the information showed an undeniable threat to
security. The Department of Homeland Security has previously warned that
stolen badges and uniforms were used by terrorists to stage attacks
Saul Wilen, a San Antonio-based terrorism prevention consultant, called the
issue a very serious problem.
"If you have a badge and a uniform, you are invincible in terms of the
system," he said.
In a statement, the TSA denied that stolen badges could lead to security
"Transportation security officers, regardless of credentials or uniforms,
are screened each time they enter the checkpoint," the statement read.
The station countered that statement with footage of employees bypassing or
being waved through checkpoints in San Antonio and Miami.
But the TSA noted that employees are required to have a second badge which
is deactivated when reported lost or stolen, consequently prohibiting access
to secure areas.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, said the missing badges and possible
screening lapses are "a clear and present danger to homeland security."
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