9 Investigates: Plan for tougher airport security not being used

CHARLOTTE, NC — A Channel 9 investigation has uncovered lawmakers are letting you down. They have a plan in hand to help provide tougher security at our airports, but they're not using it.

It comes 24 hours after we told you about a major drug trafficking ring using commercial flights to move what airline workers thought was meth around the country - including on a flight to Charlotte.

RELATED: Airport workers used flights to distribute meth

The federal report flat out says there are "inconsistent" solutions to "consistent" problems and the problem is more and more airport workers across the country are abusing their status and putting people's safety in jeopardy.

A federal investigation over two years - that taxpayers paid for - found "insider threats to aviation security are on the rise" and "the majority of airports do not have full employee screening at secure access points."

"It's disheartening honestly to hear something like that because these jobs are given to people that go through extensive backgrounds, screenings rather," said traveler Errol Swaby.

Lawmakers in Washington proposed swift changes, including:

  • Better technology at secure doors
  • Surveillance cameras
  • Advanced screening technologies to detect explosives and other contraband
  • A national database of airport workers who've had their employee badge revoked - and more.

The US House passed the measure unanimously, but more than a year later the Senate still hasn't even voted on it.

"It has to be a priority. This is something very important," said Swaby.

The TSA has made some changes in recent years, but just Tuesday we told you about a major drug ring using commercial flights to ship what airline workers believed to be crystal meth- including on one flight bound for Charlotte.

Kerri Kessell was shocked when we told her security policies for airport employees differ by airport, and baggage handlers, who were screened prior to being hired, may not have to go through a TSA checkpoint daily.

"I think that's sort of the problem we're having in this country is it's not often from outside, it's not from who we think it would be," said Kessell.

A spokesperson for Charlotte-Douglas said they couldn't answer our questions about how employees here are screened because of sensitive security information.

The federal report addresses why there isn't a uniform policy for all airports - citing differences at airports across the U.S. and the costs and risks associated with new security protocols.