A legal loophole doesn't 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, Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Sunday in unveiling legislation that would change that.
Schumer, D-N.Y., cited a recent Department of Homeland Security study that found disgruntled former employees have sensitive inside information that would be sought by terrorists. The report also says current employees have been solicited by unidentified outsiders.
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.
"Power plants and utilities present a tempting and potentially catastrophic target to extremists who are bent on wreaking havoc on the United States, which is why thorough background checks on all workers with access to the most sensitive areas of these operations are a must," Schumer said.
His bill would require FBI background checks on all employees of major power plants, Schumer said.
Nuclear plant workers are already required to submit to a thorough background check, but Schumer says utilities and power plants aren't covered.