Airport security (file)
Airport security (file)Reuters

An official report Tuesday has caused a storm centered around the US Transportation Security Agency (TSA), revealing that American airports have hired dozens of people with links to Islamist terrorism.

Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth discussed the new report, which that found the TSA let at least 73 people with terror links slip by and be hired by US airports, reports AFP.

The report only compounds the damage of a Department of Homeland Security report that discovered investigators were able to sneak fake bombs and weapons through security at a 95% rate of success. That report last week led to an announcement of increased screening measures and a replacement of Melvin Carraway, the TSA's acting head.

Regarding the hiring of those with terror links, the new report said the TSA has "limited oversight" over the hiring process according to the law and as a result "lacked assurance that it properly vetted all credential applicants."

Roth said the law must be altered to give the TSA all information needed to weed out potential threats, with suggested new measures including access to FBI terrorist watchlists.

Illustrating the depth of the problem, assistant security director at the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport Becky Roering revealed that some "badged" employees had even been in Syria to join the brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group.

Roering also criticized a program to pre-check travelers and given them "trusted traveler" status; over a million have signed up for the program, and another seven million were randomly chosen for expedited boarding checks.

"TSA is handing out 'PreCheck' status like Halloween candy in an effort to expedite passengers as quickly as possible," she criticized.

The security director noted that in one case a former member of an extremist organization was randomly allowed on the PreCheck line, and only the alertness of a TSA worker who recognized him and reported to his superior halted the snafu. 

Roering added that TSA staff have low morale, and suffer from a work climate steeped in fear and distrust.