Faulty high-tech security doors at LAX pose such a serious safety risk that the Federal Transportation Security Administration is levying stiff fines on airport management for not properly maintaining them, according to knowledgeable sources.
In an exclusive report on Monday, NBC4 reported that a network of so-called ACAMS doors, which control access to the airport’s most sensitive areas, have been repeatedly malfunctioning for at least the past two months, making it possible for anyone, whether authorized or not, to reach the tarmac and other off-limits locations.
Sources are now telling NBC4 that local TSA officials are so concerned about the problem they have begun, for the first time, conducting random checks of the doors and imposing $1,500 fines for every door that is found to be defective.
The fines reportedly are being levied against Los Angeles World Airports, the management authority that oversees local airports for the City of Los Angeles.
According to the same sources, the TSA headquarters in Washington has also placed LAX under special scrutiny because of the doors, and has tightened that scrutiny in the wake of a major security breach a week ago in which a Nigerian-American student with an expired boarding pass got through airport screening undetected.
That incident did not involve the doors, but sources tell NBC4 that TSA officials are concerned about what appears to be a continuing pattern of mishaps affecting airport security.
In an official statement on Monday the LAX Police blamed the door problems on disruptions caused by construction at the airport, and said that LAX remains entirely secure.
But inside sources told NBC4 that no one in airport management is sure why the doors are unlocking by themselves or what the solution may be.
“ACAMS” is an acronym for “Access Control and Alarm Monitoring Systems.”
The electronic, computerized ACAMS doors are located in ticketing and gate areas throughout LAX and normally can be opened only by security-cleared airport employees using a badge swipe and pin number.
Update: TSA officials denied their agency is taking any enforcement actions against airport management.