February 4, 2010, - 11:33 am
If the TSA will hire a convicted felon robber, who won’t they hire? And why is the TSA screening us, when the agency refuses to screen . . . its own employees? Absurd is an understatement. Is the TSA really this desperate for employees? Are there really so few qualified unemployed Americans applying for a TSA position?
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration insisted that Richmond International Airport issue its highest-level security clearance to a TSA security officer with a felony conviction for robbery.
The current employee was 17 years old when he committed the crime and 18 when convicted. The TSA said such juvenile adjudications do not bar people from employment.
The airport would not identify the TSA employee nor reveal his age. The employee did not divulge on his application—though a records check last fall did—that he had been found guilty of robbery within the past 10 years.
The federal agency’s demand that RIC issue the “security identification display area” badge came despite the fact that Richmond International’s TSA-approved security program prohibits issuing security badges to people convicted of any disqualifying crimes.
“It is unconscionable . . . that a 17year-old person, who committed and was found guilty of a terrible crime, would be hired and works the front line of airport security,“ said Jon Mathiasen, RIC’s president and CEO, in a letter to the TSA on Jan. 18. . . .
The Transportation Security Administration threatened the airport with unspecified consequences, Mathiasen said, unless RIC agreed to issue the badge to the employee.
Faced with the TSA’s demands “and against its own prudent judgment,“ the Capital Region Airport Commission, which owns and operates RIC, issued the access credentials to the federal employee late last year. . . .
Last fall, the Capital Region Airport Commission did a fingerprint and criminal history records check on the TSA employee who was seeking an upgraded security badge. “Security identification display area” badges allow their holders unescorted access to secured areas, including airliner parking and luggage holding areas.
Based on its security program, RIC denied the request. The TSA, however, said the airport had to issue the credentials because the employee met the federal agency’s hiring standards.
And don’t forget that this is the same agency which repeatedly misses most bombs in tests conducted by other feds, and responds to problems by playing John Tesh muzak.
Safer since 9/11? Ha. Not even close.
If our leaders were smart (and they aren’t), they’d disband the TSA and replace it with Blackwater (now known as Xe).
Tags: convicted felon, highest security clearance, Jon Mathiasen, RIC, Richmond International Airport, robber, robbery, top secret, Transportation Security Administration, TSA