Dear Friend,

This year Democracy Now! is celebrating our 25th anniversary—that's 25 years of bringing you fearless, independent reporting. Since our very first broadcast in 1996, Democracy Now! has refused to take government or corporate funding, because nothing is more important to us than our editorial independence. But that means we rely on you, our audience, for support. If everyone who tunes into Democracy Now! signed up for a monthly donation of just $10, we could cover our operating costs for the entire year. Please do your part today. Right now, a generous donor will even DOUBLE your first monthly gift, which means it’ll go twice as far! This is a challenging time for us all, but if you're able to start a new monthly donation, please don’t delay. We’re counting on your support. Thank you and remember, wearing a mask is an act of love.
-Amy Goodman

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Donate

As Congress Considers Federalizing Airport Screeners, the Nation’s Largest Airport Security Company Is Accused of Massive Security Violations

Listen
Media Options
Listen

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia has accused the nation’s largest airport security company of failing to conduct proper background checks, hiring people with criminal backgrounds to staff airport checkpoints, and lying to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Argenbright Security, an Atlanta-based company, pleaded guilty last October to falsifying the criminal background checks of its employees at Philadelphia International Airport, a lapse that led to more than a dozen people with criminal backgrounds working at the security checkpoints. One screener had been arrested 23 times. (Screeners are posted at airport security checkpoints, where they operate X-ray machines and metal detectors and perform searches.) Argenbright was fined $1.6 million, put on probation and ordered to clean up its internal problems. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia said Thursday that shoddy background checks persisted at 13 airports.

The charges come at a time of alarm over airport security. Congress is deciding whether to make screeners federal employees or to continue use of private companies such as Argenbright but with new federal controls, new training requirements and much higher pay for screeners. The Senate voted last week to federalize screeners at major airports while the House Republican leadership prefers a private enterprise solution.

The Air Transport Association, which represents major airlines, has called for the nationalization of airport security, and President Bush is asking Congress to let the federal government take over the background checks of airport screeners.

The Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix just told Argenbright to leave. Argenbright’s starting pay there was $6.75 per hour, a wage rivaled by fast-food restaurants. Several current and former employees say the low standards and poor-quality technology have created a security screen that is more cosmetic than effective.

Guest:

  • John Pease assistant U.S. attorney

Related link:

Related Story

StorySep 10, 2021Rep. Barbara Lee, Who Cast Sole Vote After 9/11 Against “Forever Wars,” on Need for Afghan War Inquiry
The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation
Top