Airline Worker Exposes Potential Airport Security Issues

An airline employee spoke with 6News about what he claims are serious breaches in security at Indianapolis International Airport.

The employee, who spoke with the station on condition of anonymity, said workers have been able to put weapons through secure areas and that packages can be put onto planes without proper security checks. The employee also said that workers don't undergo physical screenings.

The worker told 6News' Jeremy Brilliant about two airports -- the public side, where every bag is screened, every person is checked and some undergo more detailed random searches, and the back side, where ground crews work with no regular inspections and no physical checks of individuals or their belongings.

Using a hidden camera, he recorded himself boarding two planes to illustrate how easy it is for a worker to walk onto aircraft unchecked.

"There is a hole and there is a breach. Employees breach security every single solitary day," the employee said.

Employees must swipe their badges to get access to the secure area of the airport.

The employee said workers encounter no metal detectors or guards. Airline employees are able to bring with them just about anything they want, the employee said.

"(We can bring) handguns, hunting knives, just a variety of things like that that they were able to bring out onto the secure area, or what they call a secure area, with no detection," he said.

The employee says the hidden-camera recording shows it is easy for workers to walk onto planes and put items into seat pouches before crew members or passengers arrive. He said no one said anything to him when he boarded the two empty planes.

"I could put as many packages, or as many pouches, or as many guns, or knives, or bombs, or anything of that nature in any seat back," the employee said.

Indianapolis TSA Federal Security director David Kane said physical inspections aren't necessary, because employee names are continually checked against terrorist watch lists, and the workers undergo extensive background screening before they are given entry badges.

"It's a layered system. So, it's not just what you see at the front door and that's where it ends. It's not that at all," Kane said. "As long as we're making sure that people don't have the motivation, the predisposition, to commit crimes against the transportation system, the rest of it to me is a relationship between that person, their employer and their personal integrity."

The Airline Pilots Security Alliance said the lack of physical screening is "one of the greatest weaknesses in airline security."

An aviation report card issued by a national pilot's trade association gave the industry a failing grade for ground crews, because they aren't screened.

"If they had evil intent in mind and they're not being monitored, they could do just about whatever they want to do inside a wheel well of an aircraft or inside the cabin itself," said Jay Norelius, of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association.

The worker told 6News he made his superiors aware of what he perceives as a threat months ago, but he said they shrugged it off.

"They pretty much just said ... it was unrealistic -- that yes, they're aware that something maybe could happen, but the chances of that happening were very slim," the worker said.

The airport released a statement that emphasized that they are "in full compliance with all federal security regulations," and that "badge holders become a part of the security program and are entrusted to enforce all federal security regulations."

Tuesday at 6:00, 6News' Jeremy Brilliant follows up this story with the employee showing how workers send packages all over the country by simply loading them onto planes, without any type of screening.

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