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TSA ‘Aware of Possible Insider Threats’ as Officers at Philadelphia International Airport Stop Flight Attendant Carrying a Loaded Gun

Three years ago, TSA published its Insider Threat Roadmap 2020. TSA created the document to ensure the transportation security sector was aware that insider threats risks are significant and to lead the sector in identifying ways to mitigate that risk.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Philadelphia International Airport prevented a flight attendant from boarding a plane with a loaded .380 caliber handgun on Friday, Sept. 15, two weeks after they prevented a man who worked at one of the airport retail concession shops from bringing his loaded handgun through the security checkpoint. Both individuals were arrested by police.

“We are always on the alert for any possible insider threats,” explained Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Both of these were good catches on the part of our team. Flight attendants and workers inside the terminal have insider knowledge and access to areas of the airport and aircraft that could pose a serious security threat. These are excellent examples of why it remains important that airline employees and individuals who work in airports need to be screened before gaining access to secure areas of the airport.”

The flight attendant, a resident of Arizona, was caught as the woman entered the security checkpoint to work on a flight. In addition to being arrested by police, she also faces a Federal financial penalty for carrying a gun to a checkpoint. 

“It is well known publicly that passengers are not permitted to carry their firearms through our security checkpoints,” said Christine Assili, TSA’s Deputy Federal Security Director for the airport. “But it is equally important that the public is aware that individuals who work at the airport also are not permitted to be in possession of a gun. We are equally focused on screening employees as well as travelers.”

In a statement, TSA said it is “aware of possible insider threats”. Three years ago, TSA published its Insider Threat Roadmap 2020. TSA created the document to ensure the transportation security sector was aware that insider threats risks are significant and to lead the sector in identifying ways to mitigate that risk.

Last September, former Acting Assistant Administrator for TSA’s Office of Requirements and Capabilities Analysis and Executive Vice President of K2 Security Screening Group, Steve Karoly, told Homeland Security Today that the insider threat is a very real concern for the transportation sector, particularly aviation.

“While TSA’s annual ‘see something, say something’ training helps to prevent and deter some nefarious activities, it won’t avert them all,” Karoly said. “More must be done across the transportation sector. With technology advances, such as the use of biometrics, social media screening assessment tools, and stand-off screening technology, additional measures should be implemented to enhance the existing threat prevention measures.”

Read more at TSA

author avatar
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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