New information to an ongoing NBC 5 investigation found hundreds of airport security badges, known as Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) badges, are unaccounted for across the country.
Working in partnership with the NBC station in San Diego, NBC 5 Investigates found more than 270 SIDA badges missing at the San Diego International Airport in the last two years.
In some cases those badges were not reported missing for weeks or even months, so missing badges were not deactivated. Employees are supposed to notify airport authorities within 24 hours of losing a badge.
InvestigativeHundreds of Airport Security Badges Missing
Earlier this year, NBC 5 Investigates revealed more than 1,400 badges were lost or stolen at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport over approximately two years.
Before NBC 5 Investigates could get information from other large airports, like Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and others, The Transportation Security Administration declined to provide numbers from other airports across the country saying the information is presents a security concern.
It is unclear if San Diego airport officials consulted the TSA before releasing the records. An airport spokesperson did not immediately respond to a question about that issue. At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport officials have declined to release such information because TSA considers it "security sensitive."
Some Senators who oversee the TSA say it’s now time for the agency to report how many ID badges are missing nationwide and what they’re doing about the issue.
“Clearly there are an awful lot of things falling through the cracks and there’s just no room for error when it comes to this issue. We need answers. They’re not providing them,” said Sen. John Thune, who chairs the senate’s transportation committee.
Thune and two other Senators on the Transportation Committee sent a letter to the TSA last week demanding more information. They also plan to question President Barack Obama's new nominee to lead the TSA, Coast Guard Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, in a hearing Thursday.
InvestigativeSenators Want Answers on Missing Airport IDs
In an email, TSA said it will reply to the Senators' letter directly. TSA said many airports like D/FW have extra layers of security, so workers need a code or handprint to get in, not just an ID badge.
Additionally, the TSA says it is already working to step up background checks and random searches of workers who have ID badges nationwide.
In San Diego, the airport authority issued a statement saying it would do more to ensure that badge holders comply with the rules about reporting IDs missing.
"The Airport Authority requires tenants and contractors to provide accurate data regarding the current status of their employees and will work with the information provided to further minimize potential security risks," the statement read.