A convicted domestic terrorist and longtime fugitive was somehow allowed to go through Transport Security Administration’s expedited security screening last June, despite her criminal history.
A TSA Inspector General Report was released in March and it reveals that in June 29, 2014, a TSA agent recognized a “notorious convicted felon” at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
When the agent alerted his supervisor, he was told to “take no further action and allow the traveler through the TSA Pre-Check lane.” There was no incident report because of the supervisor’s actions, but a whistleblower reported the incident to TSA’s Office of Special Counsel.
According to Fox 9, the “notorious convicted felon” was Sara Jane Olson, 68, otherwise known as Kathleen Ann Soliah. She was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army.
In 1975, Olson planted explosives underneath police squad cars. She went on the run and was in hiding in St. Paul, Minnesota, for 25 years before being arrested, Fox 9 reports.
Olson pleaded guilty in 2001 and was released on parole in 2009.
Officials are now trying to figure out how someone with a clear criminal history could have possibly received TSA Pre-Check, which allows verified passengers to not have to take their shoes off or remove liquids from their bags while going through airport security.
The report claims Olson did not receive her TSA Pre-Check through the application program, as she would have been denied because of her criminal history. Any one of 28 types of criminal conviction make a person ineligible to receive TSA Pre-Check.
Another way to get on the fast lane through airport security would be what’s known as “managed inclusion.” This allows passengers to get on the TSA Pre-Check line to regulate wait times during peak hours. But the reports says that’s also not how Olson was able to get through.
Fox 9 reports that Olson likely received her TSA Pre-Check through the Secure Flight program. This program compares passenger information from the airlines to the Terrorist Screening Database and the “Selectee List” and “No Fly” list of passengers.
But data from the Secure Flight program is cleared within seven days of travel, so it is still unclear how Olson was allowed to receive TSA Pre-Check.
To make matters more mysterious, the portion of the report that explains the breakdown is almost completely redacted.
The report made two recommendations. It suggested that the TSA Chief Risk Officer discontinue the Secure Flight program. TSA disagreed. It also recommended that passengers be referred to standard screening whenever an agent believes said passenger should not be eligible for TSA Pre-Check. TSA agreed to that.
The security issue will be further discussed at a Congressional Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing on March 26.
Sources: Fox 9
Photo Credit: Fox 9