Bill Looks at Power Plant Security

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 @ 02:08 PM gHale

A loophole in the law does not require workers hired at most power plants to undergo FBI background checks even though a federal report warns the plants are a likely route for terrorists.

Proposed legislation will take care of that issue, said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

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A Department of Homeland Security report found disgruntled former employees have sensitive inside information that terrorists would want. The report also found unidentified outsiders solicited current employees.

In the fall of 2010, al-Qaida urged recruits to take jobs in potential terrorist targets such as power plants where they could inflict significant damage and chaos quickly and easily, the federal report said.

The proposed legislation would require FBI background checks on all employees of major power plants, Schumer said.

Schumer said the report shows that al-Qaida is recruiting terrorists to work in sensitive locations such as electric, gas and water utilities.

Schumer’s bill would require an FBI criminal history check that includes analyzing fingerprints. Fees paid to the FBI for each analysis would pay for the process, he said.

Nuclear plant workers must already undergo a thorough background check, but Schumer said there is no coverage for utilities and power plants.

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