Transportation Security: Actions Needed to Address Limitations in TSA's Transportation Worker Security Threat Assessments and Growing Workload Page: 7 of 72
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
criminal attack on the nation's transportation systems, which include
approximately 360 ports and more than 450 commercial airports.
TSA reported administering 17 transportation security related
credentialing programs covering a population of approximately 15 million
transportation workers such as those accessing airports and maritime
ports, as well as truckers seeking a hazardous materials endorsement to
a commercial driver's license. These 17 TSA credentialing programs
include conducting applicant background checks-known as Security
Threat Assessments-which are TSA reviews of applicant information
and searches of government databases to determine if the applicant has
known ties to terrorism and meets specified requirements such as those
relating immigration status and criminal history.2 In addition, pursuant to
federal law and corresponding regulations, TSA requires that airport and
aircraft operators ensure that individuals undergo a fingerprint-based
criminal history records check and terrorism and immigration checks,
before receiving identification credentials that enable them unescorted
access to SIDA or sterile areas of the airport.3 Most TSA credentialing
programs are administered internally with no equivalent nonfederal
government entity (namely states or port authorities) responsibilities
under federal regulations.4 However, for 3 of 17 TSA programs,
nonfederal government entities have certain responsibilities under federal
statutes and corresponding regulations, such as for enrolling applicants or
issuing credentials to workers. These 3 programs are as follows:
2A Security Threat Assessment includes conducting a background check to determine
whether each applicant is a security risk to the United States. These checks, in general,
can include checks for criminal history records, immigration status, terrorism databases
and watchlists, and records indicating an adjudication of lack of mental capacity, among
other things. TSA security threat assessment-related regulations define the term security
threat to mean an individual whom TSA determines or suspects of posing a threat to
national security; to transportation security; or of terrorism.
3See 49 U.S.C. 44936; 49 C.F.R. 1542.209, 1544.229 and 1544.230.
4For example, in accordance with Coast Guard regulation, all mariners employed aboard
U.S. merchant vessels greater than 100 Gross Register Tons (Domestic Tonnage), except
operators of uninspected passenger vessels, are required to have a valid U.S. Merchant
Mariners Credential. Under this program, TSA and Coast Guard conduct the background
check, with Coast Guard responsible for issuing a credential. Once the credential is
issued, the Coast Guard is responsible for verifying the validity of the credential.
Nonfederal public entities-such as a state or port authority-do not have roles in this
credentialing process. Port authorities may be state or local government entities, but may
also be privately operated.
GAO-12-60 Transportation Security
Here’s what’s next.
This report can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Report.
United States. Government Accountability Office. Transportation Security: Actions Needed to Address Limitations in TSA's Transportation Worker Security Threat Assessments and Growing Workload, report, December 8, 2011; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302673/m1/7/: accessed March 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.