of Transportation Norman Mineta
Department of Transportation Statement
October 11, 2001
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta praised Thursdays actions
by the Justice Department seeking to revoke the probation of Argenbright, Inc.,
a security screening firm operating at Philadelphia International Airport, and
assigned a special enforcement team to the airport.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pease on Thursday petitioned the U.S. District
Court in Philadelphia to order Argenbright officials to a hearing to answer
charges that they continue to violate an earlier court order regarding the hiring
of screeners without appropriate background checks or training.
The action taken today against Argenbright is further evidence of this
Administrations commitment to the safety and security of the traveling
public, said Secretary Mineta. I want to thank and congratulate
the members of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorneys Office of
Philadelphia, the Transportation Departments Office of Inspector General,
and other participating law enforcement agencies, for collectively underscoring
the governments resolve in enforcing the vital security regulations of
our national aviation system.
To insure that the traveling public continues to receive the proper level of
safety, Secretary Mineta has assigned a special Security Assessment Team to
Philadelphia Airport. Comprised of a Federal Security Manager from the FAA and
agents from the DOT Office of Inspector General, the team will scrutinize screening
operations and enforce federal standards. The team will insure that the court's
compliance order is adhered to, with specific focus on verifying background
checks and employee training.
Todays announcement is the culmination of an investigation initiated by
the Department of Transportations Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
in January 1999, after receiving allegations from FAA inspectors that Argenbright
had falsified background investigations at Philadelphia International Airport
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, the Department of
Transportation has also implemented a series of directives aimed at strengthening
passenger security, and is currently working with Congress to pass legislation
that will, as part of a comprehensive package, place the security and screening
process at all airports under federal management and control.