June 3rd, 2007 08:46 EST
TSA Information on Plot to Attack John F. Kennedy Airport
On June 2, the U.S. Department of Justice announced arrests in a foiled terrorist plot to attack John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport.
For more than a year, there has been a tightly coordinated effort led by the FBI that also involved law enforcement, the intelligence community, DHS components including TSA and CBP, as well as international partners. Within TSA, the office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service, Intelligence and Security Operations were actively involved. This coordinated effort shows once again that the best way to stop terrorist attacks is to break them up before they become operational.
For more information on the plot and law enforcement actions, please click here (pdf, 115Kb).
What did the plot involve?
The plot included destroying fuel tanks and fuel pipelines at JFK airport. While the plot was credible with an intent to commit acts of violence, it was not yet fully operational.
Is there any current danger to aviation because of this plot?
No. There is no credible intelligence to suggest an imminent threat to the homeland at this time, and there are no adjustments to our security posture being made as a result of this plot.
Did TSA have a role in breaking this plot?
TSA worked closely with the FBI and other law enforcement and intelligence community partners throughout the investigation and disruption of this plot. Specifically the offices of Intelligence, Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service and Security Operations were involved.
Do the people who have access to the pipeline areas of airports undergo security screening?
Airport employees receive a security threat assessment prior to receiving credentials and access privileges. Security threat assessments consist of a criminal history records check and vetting against terrorist watch lists. They are required not only for airport personnel but also for individuals with access to public areas that possess airport credentials. This includes taxi drivers, parking lot attendants, vendors and shuttle bus drivers who have identification issued by the airport.
How does TSA screen employees inside and outside of the airport?
Outside the airport, random inspections include scrutinizing delivery trucks or personal vehicles at access gates. Inside the airport, roving patrols screen workers with handheld metal detectors and examine property for threat items that are unrelated to their work. Temporary checkpoints are also created beyond access points to ensure access protocols are followed and workers are screened before entering the terminal.
What role do airports play in securing areas like gas tanks and pipelines?
Airports are required to develop Airport Security Plans that lay out physical security measures, procedures for safeguarding access control and other protocols specific to the facilities and area around an individual airport.
- The Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) provides assistance on a variety of missions critical to aviation security. While undetected by the traveling public, their service is critical to efforts like the foiled JFK plot.
- Intelligence sharing among international agencies has been a constant benefit to transportation security, first noted during the August 10, 2006 liquid explosives plot that was foiled by UK authorities. In addition to information sharing, site visits and sharing of best practices like the 3-1-1 liquids policies has been instrumental in securing aviation worldwide.
- TSA is represented on the Joint Terrorism Task Force of New York by a member of our Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service.