TSA Cleared Former Domestic Terrorist for PreCheck Lane

Ali Meyer | March 23, 2015 | 3:00pm EDT
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(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) cleared a "notorious convicted felon" to use the TSA’s PreCheck lanes, according to an Office of Inspector General (OIG) of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report.

According to the TSA, PreCheck “allows low-risk travelers to experience expedited, more efficient security screening at participating U.S. airport checkpoints.”

The report was titled “Allegation of Granting Expedited Screening through TSA PreCheck Improperly.”

"The traveler is a former member of a domestic terrorist group," said the report. "While a member, the traveler was involved in numerous felonious  criminal activities that led to arrest and conviction. After serving a multiple-year sentence, the traveler was released from prison."

TSA determines whether a traveler is eligible for membership in the PreCheck program by evaluating “applicant biographic information and fingerprints against intelligence, law enforcement, and immigration automated data systems.”

"TSA will deny membership to an applicant confirmed to be a match to an intelligence-based data system, convicted of any of the 28 disqualifying criminal offenses, or not a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident," says the report.

“TSA’s Security Threat Assessment Operations (STAO) verified that the traveler did not apply to the TSA PreCheck Application Program,” explains the OIG. “An STAO official confirmed that if the traveler had applied, STAO would have issued the traveler a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility Letter because of the traveler’s convictions for murder and offenses that involve explosives.

"TSA would then allow the traveler 60 days to submit a redress request and provide documentation showing that the traveler was not convicted of a disqualifying offense; however, it is publicly known that the traveler was convicted and served [redacted] years in prison," said the report.

Instead, TSA granted TSA PreCheck screening to this traveler through the risk assessment rules in the Secure Flight program.

"We determined that TSA did not grant the traveler TSA Pre-screening through the TSA Pre-Application Program or managed inclusion," said the report. "TSA granted the traveler TSA Pre-screening through risk assessment rules in the Secure Flight program," said the report.

The former domestic terrorist was recognized by the Transportation Security Officer when he arrived at an airport to board a plane.

"In this circumstance," says the report, "the TSO recognized the sufficiently notorious convicted felon based on media coverage, and verified the traveler's identity documents. Upon scanning the traveler's boarding pass, the TSO received the TSA Pre eligibility notification. However, the TSO knew the traveler's TSA Pre disqualifying criminal convictions. The TSO followed the standard operating procedures and reported this to the supervisory TSO who then directed the TSO to take no further action and allow the traveler through the TSA Pre lane. As a result, the TSA does not have an incident report for this event."

“Mitigating and reducing passenger screening vulnerabilities is important to our nation’s aviation security,” said Inspector General John Roth. “Incidents like this highlight the need for TSA to modify their PreCheck procedures.”

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