Relax. After reports surfaced last month that dozens of private airline employees may have had terror ties, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson this week set the record straight: "It's not that they're suspected terrorists. It's that they hadn't been vetted through all available databases. We have since corrected that problem and the cases have been resolved." There is just one problem: this is not really a problem that can be corrected.
This came after the Cox Washington News Bureau reported that there were no fewer than 73 airport workers with possible terror ties, working at airports including Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, Logan Airport in Boston, Orlando International Airport in Florida, Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, and others. But Johnson boasted: "We're doing a better job of consulting all of the right databases when it comes to airport security and a host of other things."
Is that so? How reassuring. Presumably Johnson and his team have consulted their extensive database of card-carrying Islamic State members, and have diligently compared it to their list of airport employees, and have removed those who appeared on both lists. The only problem with this scenario, of course, is that there is no such database, or anything comparable to it. There is simply no database that Johnson could consult that would enable the Department of Homeland Security to remove everyone with terror ties from airport jobs.