Security concerns have been raised after passengers were able to go through airport security checkpoints without the proper documentation and requirements.
As disclosed in a report by Politico, there had been at least two unreported incidents in which passengers were able to pass airport security points who were not enrolled in CLEAR’s identity-vetting service and had no proper identification. One of them included a passenger who managed to clear all security checks using a discarded boarding pass found in a trash can.
CLEAR Plus is an identity verification system that offers expedited entry at participating US airports for those who sign up for its annual membership.
In both of the incidents, which occurred in January and March 2023, a CLEAR employee escorted the passengers through Transport Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints.
US lawmakers are calling for changes in TSA protocol on how it handles CLEAR passengers, citing another July 2022 incident where a passenger was able to use CLEAR’s services successfully while using another person’s identity.
In a statement to Politico, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the House committee that oversees the Homeland Security Department, 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,” Thompson added, calling CLEAR’s security controls “lax”.
Annabel Walsh, CLEAR’s spokesperson said that “security is job one and we have a zero tolerance policy.”
Walsh said that the two incidents in early 2023 were “isolated” and “had nothing to do with our biometric system and were the result of an ambassador not following our strict protocols after which we took immediate action.”
CLEAR took action by firing the employees responsible for the lapses and their managers, as well as requiring all employees to be retrained on CLEAR’s verification process.