July 20, 2015
Press Release

SYRACUSE, NY – Following a series of high profile airline and airport employee security breaches, U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today announced that he introduced the bipartisan “Airport Access Control Security Improvement Act,” legislation aimed at reforming and streamlining Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening procedures for airport and airline employees. 


“Just this week, an extensive drug trafficking operation was exposed out of Dallas/Fort Worth, where employees were able to bypass security and smuggle drugs into secure areas of the airport.  This incident, along with others over the last few months, have highlighted concerning gaps in employee vetting and screening procedures.  These vulnerabilities need to be addressed in order to safeguard to traveling public,” said Rep. Katko. 


This Congress, Rep. Katko, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security, has led the Committee’s effort to address employee access control issues.  This oversight has complemented a broader and ongoing review of TSA’s operations, policies and procedures.   The Subcommittee’s oversight over these instances revealed: shortcomings in employee vetting, improper use of employee credentials, and a range of challenges that have inhibited employee screening.


The legislation:


  • Requires TSA to develop procedures for risk-based screening of airport and airline employees.
  • Makes critical reforms to the employee screening process to ensure those who have access to our nation’s airports do not pose a threat.
  • Provides additional law-enforcement resources to screen employees.
  • Establishes an oversight framework to ensure Congress can closely monitor improvements surrounding employee vetting and screening.


The legislation also codifies an important set of recommendations offered by the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC), which includes industry stakeholders and TSA.  Over the last few months, ASAC has conducted a review of these issues. 


“As threats to our aviation sector continue to evolve, commonsense reforms -- such as clearly differentiating between individuals authorized to have access to secure areas, and those who do not, or requiring criminal background checks that cover an extended history -- will go a long way in ensuring safety at our airports,” concluded Katko.


Congressman John Katko chairs the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security.   He represents the 24thCongressional District of New York, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties, and a portion of Oswego County.  For more information, please visit or