Airport security jumped into the spotlight after J.E., TVA network’s investigative unit, reported that four employees at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport had their security clearance scaled back on suspicion of being radicalized.
According to the TVA network, some employees have visited propaganda sites of the so-called Islamic State group.
They have also allegedly been accessing documents on the Internet on the use of weapons and explosives.
The reports claimed at least one employee had security clearance that allowed the individual to be on the tarmac.
J.E. also said three of the employees have profiles that Montreal police consider worrisome.
Two of the four employees still work at the airport but have been reassigned.
Two other employees had their security cards confiscated because authorities were concerned over their mental well-being.
Montreal’s anti-radicalization centre’s research manager Benjamin Ducol said it’s not surprising to find radicalized employees in airports, airlines, railways, and electrical sectors.
Ducol also added the centre has worked with the Montreal airport in the past.
Security expert Claude Sarrazin said the airport appears to be taking the necessary steps to contain the security threat.
According to Sarrazin, containing security threats is more complicated than simply firing the employees because they also have labour rights.
“There’s a fine line to cross that is very tempting to cross, but we have to be careful how we cross, and when we cross it,” Sarrazin said. “We can push the envelope to a certain level but the courts will bring us back. If that person is re-instated in his job, that means we didn’t do our jobs well.”
Sarrazin also added that security threats are nothing new to the airport, and authorities have procedures in place to prevent attacks.
“The question is going to be, ‘How did they get hired in the first place?’” Sarrazin said. “Did they get radicalized before employment or during employment, which changes the purview of the investigation.”