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Higher security clearance sought for TSA

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Higher security clearance sought for TSA
A TSA screener pats down a passenger at a security checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport on November 24, 2010 in Chicago. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

NEWARK, N.J., Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Transportation Safety Administration workers at Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport say they're questioning the need for enhanced security clearance.

About 200 TSA employees at the airport were told they had until Wednesday to provide information for renewed background checks for high level national security clearance, even though some of the employees have relatively low-level jobs and say they don't need access to high level security information.

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"Essentially, we're screening passengers and baggage," a TSA employee told The (Newark) Star-Ledger.

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Some employees said they are concerned financial problems they've incurred since receiving their original security clearance could cost them their jobs, the newspaper said.

Receiving higher level "secret" clearance would allow TSA employees to receive information whose unauthorized disclosure could cause "serious damage to the national security," a TSA document sent to the Newark employees said.

A TSA spokesman said the higher level security clearance "allows TSA to disseminate relevant intelligence reports to enhance the ability of the frontline employees to perform their duties."

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