NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants federal officials to move faster to require mass transit employees nationwide be screened through federal terrorism watch lists.
The New York Democrat wants the Department of Homeland Security to enforce a recommendation made nearly a decade ago that rail and transit agency employees be crosschecked with the watch lists. The recommendation was made in a 2007 report by the Sept. 11 Commission.
“With terror threats from ISIS sympathizers and lone wolves ever possible, it is just not acceptable that every single front line transit employee is not checked against the federal terror watch list like airlines do,” Scumer said in a statement Sunday. “Railing for rail security is a no-brainer and we simply cannot leave our transportation arteries vulnerable to a possible terror threat. I’m urging the feds to immediately finalize this commonsense employee background check so that our nation’s railways are kept safe.”
Schumer says it’s “shocking that this commonsense safety gap was never closed.”
Records show the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration have an action pending to require the screenings. But it hasn’t been finalized. Schumer says the agencies need to move faster.
According to the FBI, five government agencies, including “the Department of State’s consular officers for passport and visa screening, the TSA for aviation security screening (No Fly and Selectee List), the FBI’s National Crime and Information Center for domestic law enforcement screening, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for border and port of entry screening, and the Department of Defense for base access screening” currently use the terror watch list.
Amtrak said they have no response to Schumer’s claims, CBS2 reported.
Representatives for the Department of Homeland Security didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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