- Lawmakers have called for TSA to step in to improve Clear’s screening processes.
- Politico on Monday reported two additional Clear security incidents that happened this year.
- In one case, a person used a ticket found in the trash to be escorted through security by Clear.
Clear, the private travel membership program that provides expedited service through airport security lines, has come under scrutiny again this week for two incidents that allowed travelers to get through TSA checkpoints even though they were not part of the program and did not have their identity verified.
The latest incidents were reported Monday by Politico, which cited an unnamed legislative aide that said lawmakers had been briefed on the matters.
In both cases, which happened in March and January, a person who was not enrolled in Clear was still escorted through TSA ID checkpoints by an employee of the program, without having their identities checked, the aide said. The people still had to go through the TSA baggage screening line. It’s unclear exactly when it was discovered that they had improperly made it through security without ID checks. Neither person ended up boarding a plane, the aide told Politico.
In one incident, a person who did not actually have an airplane ticket pulled a boarding pass out of a trash can, and used that to access the Clear escort service. In the other incident, the passenger noticed their boarding pass was for a different airport.
Clear charges its customers $189 per year to cut airport security lines with a “touchless” ID verification. Instead of waiting in line to show their ID or driver’s license to TSA, Clear passengers can have their eyeballs or fingerprints scanned to confirm their identity. Clear employees then lead them past the TSA ID check line, straight to the security screening where bags are checked.
The aide told Politico the passengers in these two incidents were able to get past the TSA ID checkpoint “because of Clear’s lack of oversight.”
“Several months ago, two CLEAR employees violated our strict protocols and improperly brought two travelers to TSA security without properly verifying them, who then went through TSA’s physical security screening without issue,” Clear said in a statement provided to Insider. “Security is job one at CLEAR, which is why we took immediate action – terminating the responsible employees, their managers and retraining each location’s ambassadors.”
Lawmakers are calling for TSA to step in to improve Clear’s security controls. The calls followed a security incident last summer that Bloomberg reported involved a person using someone’s else’s identity to sign up for Clear. Clear previously told Insider that was a “single case of human error, which was addressed immediately.”
The Washington Post reported last month that TSA planned to require more Clear members to undergo random ID checks as a part of the effort to improve the company’s screening process.
In a statement provided to Insider, TSA said: “TSA is responsible for ensuring that all systems and programs, including those provided by private companies, meet requisite standards and will take necessary steps to ensure security needs are met. Accurate and reliable verification of passenger identity is foundational to aviation security and effective screening by TSA.”
TSA added that all Registered Traveler programs are required to follow their security measures, including the future use of Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units for passenger identity and flight screening status verification.
The House Committee on Homeland Security did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the committee, told Politico in statement: “After being briefed that there have been multiple security breaches over the past year due to CLEAR’s lax security controls, it is apparent that the company puts its bottom line ahead of the security of our aviation system.”
“Each passing day the homeland is at greater risk until TSA acts to completely close these security vulnerabilities that it was alerted to last year,” he added. “We cannot afford any additional delay.”