ALEXANDRIA — Holiday travelers could receive enhanced pat-downs at the hands of Transportation Security Administration agents in the next few days, but TSA failed to enforce a key foreign pilot screening process that could have prevented the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
For several months in 2010, TSA and Department of Defense contractor Mantech International Corp. failed to enforce the Alien Flight Student Program, which performs threat assessments and background checks on about 35,000 non-citizens learning to fly every year.
“This hasn’t come back to bite us yet, but it only has to be one time,” said one source with direct knowledge of the program.
Another said of the broken screening program, “it was appalling. (Mantech was) hemorrhaging staff like crazy, and it kept getting worse and worse.”