But agency screeners interviewed for this article said references listed on their job applications were not contacted by ChoicePoint until they had been on the job for three months. In addition, the agency required some to have their fingerprints redone, saying it lost them, according to a lead screener at LAX. "'I don't know how you lose electronically taken fingerprints that were scanned into a system on a sophisticated computer," this screener said.
The inefficiency of the background check process has prompted some airport administrators to ask why screeners were allowed to work in security-sensitive areas when their background checks were pending.
In Los Angeles, airport officials did not require the 2,600 screeners to undergo the airport's normal background check process because of assurances from the agency that the employees did not have criminal records.
"Our understanding was that the [agency] was taking responsibility to verify that these people were U.S. citizens and that they were qualified to take jobs, and that included that they didn't have any disqualifying criminal background," said Paul Haney, an airport agency spokesman. LAX officials, "out of an abundance of caution," offered to re-fingerprint all agency employees after several screeners were fired earlier this year, Haney said. The federal agency rejected that idea.