of Transportation Norman Mineta
Sends FAA, Inspector General Teams to Audit Screening Companies
October 12, 2001
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today announced
that joint teams comprised of officials from the DOT's Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) and the Office of the Inspector General will begin auditing background
checks of Argenbright Security, Inc., employees at 13 U.S. airports on Saturday,
Oct. 13. Recent FAA audits of Argenbright found background check violations
at these 13 airports.
"Since the beginning of the investigation, we have worked cooperatively
with the Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney to ensure that our security
standards are being met," said FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey. "This
is an intense continuation of that effort."
This action follows a petition filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Pease on
Thursday, Oct. 11, with the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia that would order
Argenbright officials to answer charges that they continue to violate a probation
agreement regarding the hiring of screeners without appropriate background checks
Early next week, separate FAA teams will begin auditing background checks of
all U.S. airport security screeners, starting with those employed at the nation's
20 largest airports.
The initial 13 airports are Boston Logan International, Port Columbus International
(Columbus, Ohio), Eastern Iowa (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Dallas/Fort Worth International,
Detroit Metro Wayne County, Las Vegas McCarran International, Los Angeles International,
Nashville International, New York LaGuardia, Phoenix Sky Harbor International,
Seattle-Tacoma International, Trenton-Mercer and Washington Dulles International.
In both cases, background checks will be audited to make sure screeners were
properly hired according to FAA standards. Airlines are responsible for ensuring
that screeners are hired with appropriate background checks.
FAA aviation security agents discovered during a routine inspection in January
1999 that Argenbright Security screener background check records and training
records had been falsified at Philadelphia International Airport.