NBC: Airport screeners tipped off to security checks
The Department of Homeland Security has been investigating for weeks whether airport screeners were tipped off in advance about upcoming security checks. Now NBC News is reporting that those tipoffs may have come from high officials in the department.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, recently revealed an email sent by a senior official at the Transportation Security Administration giving screeners all over the country very specific details about what sorts of suspicious clues the undercover testers would expect them to notice -- such as ID's with photos that did not match the people using them and boarding passes with altered dates.
Thompson has sent letters to Assistant Secretary Edmund S. Hawley and Inspector General Richard L. Skinner at the Department of Homeland Security, asking for a complete explanation of the episode. The email is attached to both letters, which can be read at this link.
Security expert David Heyman told NBC that despite the tipoffs the screeners still did poorly, and "that's got to be very discouraging."
The following video is from NBC's Today Show, broadcast on November 2, 2007.