Hundreds of staff ID cards missing, stolen at Atlanta airport

[MIAMI] Hundreds of worker identification tags for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport - one of the United States' busiest - have been lost or stolen in recent years, NBC News reported.

Between 2012 and 2014, an estimated 1,400 badges, which allow workers access to secured areas, have been lost or stolen, the network said.

The airport, with over 60,000 workers operating 75 international flights and 150 domestic ones, downplayed the issue.

"We take the loss and theft of employee badges very seriously," said Atlanta Airport spokesperson Reese McCranie.

Yet, he insisted, "at no time has anyone with a lost or stolen badge ever attempted to access or successfully gained access to the secured areas of the airport."

"Badges are invalidated and deactivated as soon as they are reported lost or stolen. Secured areas of the airport can only be accessed with a valid badge and PIN, and each badge has a photo of the employee on it," the spokesman said.

"Due to these safeguards, we do not believe that this poses a security threat to the airport."

After the September 11, 2001 terror strikes in the United States, US authorities scrambled to tighten security to standards like those of countries used to considering terror threats business as usual.

Some security analysts have voiced concern over the lost badges, stressing that it only takes one to enable someone to penetrate security, and potentially plant explosives or take part in a 9/11-style plot.

The US Transportation Security Administration said the government had ordered a review of "security of the sterile areas at airports nationwide in order to identify all viable means for the department to address any potential vulnerability."


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