As if on cue from my last blog entry, TSA has ordered Richmond airport in Virginia to issue an airport ID badge to a convicted felon, so he can work as a screener for the TSA!!!
In the words of our President, ‘let me be clear.’ Title 49 CFR Part 1542.209 specifies the list of disqualifying crimes — i.e. crimes that if you committed and were convicted for within the past ten years you are not allowed to be issued an airport access badge. However, this list of crimes does not take into consideration some crimes that we probably don’t want our security personnel being convicted of, such as misdemeanor theft or burglary, or accepting cash for the illegal transport of items on commercial aircraft, such as drugs and weapons.
However, airport operators, under an approved Airport Security Program (approved by TSA Federal Security Director’s BTW), do have the discretion to deny an individual a badge for other purposes, such as criminal history, or if they believe the individual will be a threat to aviation security.
Seems in the Richmond case, the criminal act occurred when the individual was 17, but the conviction came when he was 18. Okay. so there’s some leeway in the classification as to whether this hits the disqualifying crimes, but frankly, it doesn’t matter. First, why is the TSA trumping the airport’s right to deny the issuance of a badge and second, and a bigger question, why is TSA hiring convicted criminals?!
Some other issues here: Since he was convicted at 18, he was convicted and served time as an adult, but he apparently decided not to did not disclose the crime on his badge application because he committed the act when he was 17. However, he apparently was still in the FBI database and the airport discovered the conviction as part of the fingerprint-based criminal history record check. By not putting down the conviction on the badge application, and then having the airport act upon that information, this guy may also be dabbling with the definition of Fraud, under Title 49 CFR Part 1540.103. Maybe this guy was told by someone not to put down that conviction, so there’s more background work to be done here, but I’m curious how many other transportation security regulations this guy is going to try to violate as the TSA hires him to screen baggage and passengers.
And they wonder why their credibility remains an issue.