A covert red team has left airport security screeners red faced at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after security screeners there failed 95 percent of security tests conducted earlier this month.
It’s not the first time the airport has been in the news. Poor security at the airport made headlines in 2015 and 2016.
In 2015, Rebecca Roering, the Assistant Federal Security Director for Inspections at the airport, slammed TSA procedures during testimony at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
“TSA is handing out PreCheck status like Halloween candy in an effort to expedite passengers as quickly as possible, despite self-admitted security gaps that are being created by the process,” said Roering.
Red Teams are used in a variety of field to pose as the bad guys and test security measures. In this case, agents from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General regularly posed as travelers trying to bring weapons, explosives, or drugs through airport security.
According to linked information reported by Fox News, the team breached security 17 out of 18 times.
Normally such tests are not made public. Exposing insecure airports could make them a target of criminals or others.
The results of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, however, were leaked late last week.
While alarming, the test results do not reflect the entire airport security system, a TSA spokesman told reporters.
When up to 95 percent of potential threats were missed in airports across the U.S. in similar tests in 2015, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson wrote a statement to try to reassure the public.
“It is important to remember that all air travelers are subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers of detection and protection, many of which are not visible to the traveling public,” he wrote.
“The numbers in these reports never look good out of context, but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security.”