The uproar over the TSA security measures is reverberating on Capitol Hill and in Washington. Members of Congress are speaking out and urging the TSA to do what Israel does when it comes to airport security - profile passengers.
And, now we've discovered that applicants to the TSA are not automatically disqualified from seeking employment - even if they've been convicted of a violent felony - including rape or sexual assault - because it depends on the time frame of the conviction. Our legal memo detailing this troubling finding is here.
Our legal and research teams have uncovered new information about how the TSA views serious criminal offenses - including child pornography sexual battery - in its application for employment.
This is the application for a Transportation Security Officer with the TSA. We're talking about the TSA employees who conduct the pat-downs and strip searches at our nation's airports.
The TSA application clearly states that by law "TSA is prohibited from employing persons with certain convictions" including murder, assault with intent to murder, rape or aggravated sexual assault. But there's a catch. The employment application includes this troubling disclaimer: "Conviction within the last 10 years of any one or more of the crimes listed below will disqualify you for employment with TSA." Here's the U.S. Code that spells it out. 49 U.S.C. 44936
That's right - you're disqualified for TSA employment only if these felony convictions have occurred within the last 10 years. And, there's more. The TSA does not even list serious offenses like child pornography or sexual battery in the listing of criminal offenses that would disqualify applicants.
All of this is detailed in the ACLJ's legal memo on this topic posted here.
So here's the bottom line: Although the TSA declares that it is "prohibited [by law] from employing persons with certain convictions," that "prohibition" is only enforceable within a ten-year window and for only a list of crimes, which does not include serious offenses such as child pornography or sexual battery.
Why would the TSA ever consider anyone for employment who's been convicted of such felonies - regardless of when those convictions occurred? And why isn't child pornography or sexual battery included in the list of criminal offenses that disqualify a job applicant? Any applicant who's been convicted of these offenses should be immediately disqualified from seeking TSA employment. Period.
We're not suggesting that the TSA is hiring convicted felons. No, but an employment policy that does not immediately disqualify those applicants convicted of dangerous felonies - no matter when the convictions have occurred - raises serious concerns.
Jordan Sekulow revealed this new discovery today in an interview with Sean Hannity on his radio broadcast. You can listen to it here.
In addition, the TSA pat-downs and strip searches are raising even more objections in the halls of Congress. Rep. John L. Mica, (R-FL) said the TSA should look at Israel, which uses early detection techniques at airports. And incoming Rep. Allen West (R-FL) says he wants to do what Israel does - he wants security officers to profile potential terrorists at airports. In his words: "There are two aspects of terrorism. One aspect of terrorism is to kill you. The other aspect of terrorism is to create a disruption of your lifestyle through fear and intimidation."
The TSA needs to adopt a sound, effective security strategy - like Israel - where the emphasis is put on gathering intelligence and data about passengers - information that's crucial in highlighting the most likely suspects.
Stand with the ACLJ and send a message to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano - it's time to target the terrorists. Add your name now now to our petition.