Waiting in lengthy lines to get through airport security checkpoints is one of the most frustrating aspects of passenger air travel. CLEAR offers a workaround for a $189 annual fee. The service’s customers are pre-screened so they can be escorted to the front of the line. However, a string of recent incidents has raised questions from federal legislators about how secure CLEAR’s process actually is.
According to POLITICO, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) briefed lawmakers on several security breaches that happened over the past year. One of the incidents saw a person taking a boarding pass out of the trash and getting through a checkpoint with a CLEAR employee. They still had to go through baggage screening and didn’t board a departing plane.
Someone being able to get through to the air side of a passenger airport terminal without being pre-screened or showing an ID to a security agent has raised alarms. Several legislators now want more checks to be put on CLEAR to prevent future breaches, including Representative Bennie Thompson, the highest-ranking Democrat in the House Committee on Homeland Security. In a statement to POLITICO, Thompson said:
“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. We cannot afford any additional delay.”
TSA is increasing the amount of CLEAR passengers required to show their IDs to a TSA agent. The agency is considering requiring every passenger using the service to present identification. CLEAR has held that the breaches resulted from human error and fired the employees involved in the lapses. If the company’s pre-screening service were subject to the same inconveniences, it would deter customers from paying the annual fee.