Airport Security Companies Form Trade Association

Within 48 hours of the attacks on the World Trade Center, airport security companies formed their own trade organization, the Aviation Security Association, retained a former transportation department official to lobby for them, and hired international PR giant Burson-Marsteller. According to the Holmes Report, in the past month, B-M has designed a website for the association, written position papers that were distributed to Capitol Hill, sponsored meetings with congressional staffers, and set up editorial board meetings. When the House released its aviation security bill, which includes many measures suppored by the industry, ASA lobbyist Kenneth Quinn answered reporters' questions during the press conference. The airport security industry, however, still has problems. Government investigators say the overall perfomance of security companies has been poor. According to the Corporate Crime Repoter, last year Argenbright Security, the nation's largest airport security screening company, was fined $1 million dollars for "willful failure" to do employee background checks and "falsely certifying that the verifications had been done." In early October, federal prosecutors alleged that Argenbright was "hiring dozens of screeners with criminal records in violation of a probation order."