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Feds ask for airport workers' personal information

By Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston, CNN
Federal officials are asking for personal information on all TSA workers with badges that grant access to nonpublic spaces.
Federal officials are asking for personal information on all TSA workers with badges that grant access to nonpublic spaces.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Airports must provide more worker information than usual
  • Homeland Security seeks personal info on airport workers
  • Data will be collected on employees with access to secure airport areas
  • Council urges member airports to get more information before complying

Washington (CNN) -- The inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security is asking airports to deliver personal information on workers who have access to secure or sensitive areas.

A memo sent to airport security badge offices by a senior analyst at the department is asking for the names, Social Security numbers, birthdates and 13 other personal data points in a review of the Transportation Security Administration's credentialing process.

The procedure for obtaining the information and the number or type of workers to be covered were not immediately known Thursday.

The request is not timed to the busy Thanksgiving travel season. It appears to be a test of TSA security procedures.

The information is due to the Department of Homeland Security by November 22.

Airports Council International, which has 575 members worldwide, is urging its member airports to hold off on sending the information until more guidance is available.

A Homeland Security annual performance plan called for the information.

"TSA has the statutory responsibility for requiring employment investigations, including a criminal history record check and a review of available law enforcement databases and other records for individuals who have unescorted access to the secure areas of airports and aircraft," it said.

A transportation official familiar with the request told CNN it came in late Wednesday afternoon, giving airports just two business days before the busy Thanksgiving week to comply.

One major U.S. airport may have as many as 40,000 to 50,000 badged workers, the official said.

Airports submit monthly information to the TSA, but the request this week requires additional information and the agency is not being flexible, the official said.

"This is going to require some heavy lifting by the airports," the official told CNN. Airports are already dealing with increased security and are preparing to handle the holiday crush, the official said.