Despite a public outcry over middle-of-the-night employee bag-screening procedures at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, an investigation turned up “no evidence of wrongdoing,” a Transportation Security Administration spokesman said Wednesday.
Sky Harbor security director Paul Armes, who was placed on suspension pending the results of the threemonth-long investigation, has been reinstated but accepted a reassignment as security chief in Nashville, Tenn., said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.
TSA is seeking a new security head for Sky Harbor, Melendez said. Deputy security director Annie Nelson will continue to head operations until a director is selected, he said.
Melendez did not know if the midnight-to-4 a.m. period would revert to the pre-July procedures.
Before KNXV-TV (Channel 15) raised an alarm in July, baggage-screening machines were turned off during early-morning hours, and only employees with badges could enter concourses through security checkpoints. Airport security screeners checked employee badges and kept passengers out.
To calm public fears about employees toting newspapers and restaurant food past silent screening machines, the TSA agreed to man concourses in Terminal 3 and 4 around the clock. That’s despite the fact these same employees could swipe badges at unmanned security doors to enter secure areas — along with their unchecked bags — any time of day. Terminal 2’s security checkpoint was closed at midnight, forcing all employees to enter concourses through unmanned security doors.