TSA Allows Former Terrorist on Board with Expedited Screening

The Transportation Security Administration put a terrorist on board a plane without normal screening procedures.

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Back in July of 2013, Dave Jolly published a prophetic post: “TSA Makes It Easier For Terrorists If They Have $85.”

Later this year, TSA is going to open the program up to everyone in the US who is willing to pay an $85 enrollment fee.  Enrolling can be done online or at an enrollment site and only requires some form of identification, fingerprints and the $85.  Anyone who doesn’t want the airline to know who they really are can obtain a fake ID and can easily get the fingerprints from other people without their knowledge.  Some will be clever enough to develop some kind of weapon or explosive device that could be concealed in their laptop, shoes, belt or outer garments.

In time, someone is bound to try to get past TSA security using the Precheck program and eventually someone will be successful.  Is TSA really worth the hundreds of millions of dollars it is costing taxpayers?  Have they really saved that many lives?  At what point do we trade in our freedoms and privacy for the sake of security?  Can there be a balance between the two in today’s violent world?

So now, according to the National Review, we have knowledge of one instance where it seems that Jolly’s prediction came true. Ryan Lovelace writes,

The Transportation Security Administration allowed a former member of a domestic terrorist group to travel through an expedited screening process known as TSA PreCheck, according to a report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General.

The redacted report does not identify the traveler by name, but says he/she “was involved in numerous felonious criminal activities that led to arrest and conviction,” and served a multiple-year prison sentence. The TSA PreCheck Program allows eligible travelers to bypass the typical cumbersome screening process afforded to everyone else.

Despite a transportation security officer’s (TSO) recognition of the “sufficiently notorious convicted felon based on media coverage,” the report says, the TSA did not stop the expedited screening process. “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 PreCheck lane,” the report says. “As a result, TSA does not have an incident report for this event.”

Notice that Lovelace is not claiming that the man should be barred from flying, just that he shouldn’t have been allowed on the PreCheck program. So, I now have to amend my statement that the TSA has never stopped a terrorist. Though that is true, it should be added that, more than failing to stop, they have given expedited passage to a former terrorist—though he had no plans to do anything harmful on the flight in this case. We can all be thankful for that.

The TSA insists they did the right thing.