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More Airport Security Badges Missing as Pols Demand Answers

Some of the badges were not reporting lost or stolen for weeks, meaning they were not quickly deactivated.
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Washington lawmakers are demanding an accounting of how many airport security badges have been lost or stolen around the country as an NBC News investigation reveals the problem may be bigger than originally thought.

“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 (R-S.D.), who chairs the Transportation Committee.

Thune and two other committee members have sent a letter to the Transportation Security Administration seeking more information.

As NBCDFW reported in March, more than 1,400 of the badges — which allow employees to access secure areas like runways and boarding gates — went missing at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport over approximately two years.

Now, the station, in partnership with NBC San Diego, has learned that more than 270 badges went missing at the San Diego International Airport in the last two years.

And some of those wayward badges were not reported for weeks or months — meaning they were not quickly deactivated.

Workers are supposed to report a missing badge within 24 hours, and the San Diego airport authority said it plans to do more to ensure that rule is followed.

The TSA said many airports have extra layers of security so workers need a code or handprint to get in, not just an ID badge. The agency said it's also working to step up background checks and random searches of workers who have ID badges nationwide.