Last updated: 10:22 AM ET, Mon July 06 2015

TSA Under Fire for Missing Airport SIDA Badges

Impacting Travel | Transportation Security Administration | Patrick Clarke | June 03, 2015

TSA Under Fire for Missing Airport SIDA Badges

The Transportation Security Administration has come under fire from U.S. senators in the wake of an investigation conducted by NBC 5 in Dallas/Fort Worth that revealed a shocking number of missing airport security badges in San Diego, Atlanta and presumably other airports across the country.

The NBC 5 investigation found that more than 270 Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) badges went missing at San Diego International Airport over the past two years, while another 1,400 were either lost or stolen at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport over the same period of time.

"Clearly there are an awful lot of things falling through the cracks and there’s just no room for error when it comes to this issue. We need answers. They’re not providing them," said South Dakota senator and Transportation Committee chairman John Thune. 

Despite a policy that requires employees who have lost a SIDA badge to notify airport authorities within 24 hours so that they can deactivate it, the NBC 5 investigation revealed that in some cases, several weeks or months had passed before a badge was reported missing. 

The TSA points out that in addition to a SIDA badge, codes and/or handprints are required to gain access to secure areas at many airports across the U.S.

But in an effort to gain access to nationwide figures and to learn more about what the TSA is doing to combat the issue, Thune and two other senators serving on the Transportation Committee recently reached out to the agency in a letter demanding more transparency. 

The senators issued their letter last month to former acting TSA administrator Melvin Carraway, who was reassigned by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday following a shocking security lapse. 

According to NBC 5, they also planned to question Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, who was nominated to lead the TSA by President Barack Obama.


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