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Former terrorist was cleared for expedited TSA checkpoint

A TSA officials said the former terrorist's name did not appear on a law enforcement watchlist

The news that the Transportation Security Administration has enrolled more than 1 million people in a program that lets low-risk travelers zip through expedited security checkpoints was tarnished by a report that former terrorist Sara Jane Olson was cleared to use the low-risk screening lane.

The former member of a domestic terrorist group got clearance in June for the expedited screening lanes known as PreCheck, according to a report last month from the Department of Homeland Security’s office of inspector general. The agency declined to name the convicted felon but media reports have since identified her as Olson, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Olson did not apply for PreCheck but was randomly picked to use the faster security lane as part of a TSA effort to cut wait times on the crowded standard checkpoint, according TSA officials. A TSA agent at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport recognize Olson and reported her to a supervisor who nonetheless gave Olson the clearance to use the PreCheck lane.

Kenneth Fletcher, TSA’s chief risk officer, told a congressional panel on homeland security last week that the felon was allowed to use PreCheck because her name didn’t pop up on any law enforcement watch list.

“That is the glitch in the system,” Fletcher said.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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