'The insider threat is real': Gaps in airport security highlighted in new video

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
U.S. Security Officials Focused on Improving Gaps in Airport Security

President Obama said Wednesday that the government is taking "every possible step" to keep Americans safe from terrorism -- but new video is raising questions about whether that's the case at the nation's airports.

At New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, used by more than 50 million passengers every year, NBC News' cameras captured employees simply swiping their electronic key cards to get into the facility this week. NBC News also obtained video from earlier this year that showed the same thing.

Unlike passengers, airline crew and employees who work in the terminal, the ramp agents in the videos did not undergo ID checks or bag checks, walk through metal detectors or get scanned for explosive materials, sources said.

Click through to see the rush of Thanksgiving travel:

20 PHOTOS
Thanksgiving travel
See Gallery
'The insider threat is real': Gaps in airport security highlighted in new video
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: Thanksgiving travelers pack Penn Station on November 25, 2015 in New York, United States. Security has been heightened in major U.S. cities going into the holidays despite no known threats. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: People go through security at JFK Airport the day before Thanksgiving on November 25, 2015 in the Queens borough of New York City. One of the biggest travel days of the year, area airports and other travel hubs are experiencing increased security following the terrorist attacks in Paris. Security in New York City has been heightened as experts try to determine the nature of threats from ISIS and other Jihadist groups. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: People wait to go through security at JFK Airport the day before Thanksgiving on November 25, 2015 in New York City. One of the biggest travel days of the year, area airports and other travel hubs are experiencing increased security following the terrorist attacks in Paris. Security in New York City has been heightened as experts try to determine the nature of threats from ISIS and other Jihadist groups. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Travelers wait to check-in to American Airlines Group Inc. kiosks at Ronald Reagan National airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. Airlines for America, the trade group for most large carriers, estimated 25.3 million people will fly on U.S. carriers from Nov. 20 through Dec. 1 during the Thanksgiving holiday, a 3 percent increase over 2014. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Amtrak police stand guard as they wait for Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to arrive to speak about holiday travel safety, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, outside of a Metro subway station at Union Station in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Valarie Settle, of Roanoke Va., waits in line at a Greyhound station to board a bus as she heads to California for the Thanksgiving holiday Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Atlanta. An estimated 46.9 million Americans are expected to take a car, plane, bus or train at least 50 miles from home over the long holiday weekend, according to the motoring organization AAA. That would be an increase of more than 300,000 people over last year, and the most travelers since 2007. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A traveler holds a dog as she checks in at American Airlines at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
People walks past New York State Police officers at Grand Central Station on November 24, 2015 in New York. After a string of terror attacks in several countries, the US government issued a worldwide travel alert warning American citizens of 'increased terrorist threats'. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
An Amtrak Police officer watches passengersas they board a train at Penn Station on November 24, 2015 in New York. After a string of terror attacks in several countries, the US government issued a worldwide travel alert warning American citizens of 'increased terrorist threats'. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO. - NOVEMBER 24: Travelers check in at the United Airlines ticket counter Tuesday morning at Denver International Airport. The main terminal was relatively busy even on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Airport officials expect Sunday to be the busiest travel day of the holiday week. (Photo By Steve Nehf / The Denver Post)
People walks past members of the Army National Guard at Grand Central Station on November 24, 2015 in New York. After a string of terror attacks in several countries, the US government issued a worldwide travel alert warning American citizens of 'increased terrorist threats'. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A traveler rests on the floor as American Airlines aircraft are lined up the the gates at Miami International Airport, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Miami. Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, both in the air and on the roads. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Military personnel walk through a terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A person in a turkey costume gives Nasreen Qasimi, 1, a toy airplane at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Security personnel walk through a terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. An estimated 46.9 million Americans are expected to take a car, plane, bus or train at least 50 miles from home over the long Thanksgiving weekend, according to the motoring organization AAA. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Travelers wait to go through security at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A worker unloads bags off a bus from Washington as it arrives ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Atlanta. A stronger economy and lower gas prices mean Thanksgiving travelers can expect more congested highways this year. During the long holiday weekend, 46.9 million Americans are expected to go 50 miles or more from home, the highest number since 2007, according to travel agency and car lobbying group AAA. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Passengers are reflected in a bus window at a downtown station ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Atlanta. An estimated 46.9 million Americans are expected to take a car, plane, bus or train at least 50 miles from home over the long holiday weekend, according to the motoring organization AAA. That would be an increase of more than 300,000 people over last year, and the most travelers since 2007. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
US Department of Homeland Security police walk through Penn Station on November 24, 2015 in New York. After a string of terror attacks in several countries, the US government issued a worldwide travel alert warning American citizens of 'increased terrorist threats'. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

And that, some say, is cause for concern -- especially amid worries that an airport insider could have been involved in the bombing of a Russian Metrojet over Egypt three weeks ago.

"The insider threat is real," Marshall McClain of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association told NBC News.

His union has called for fewer employee access points and more worker screening at the nation's busiest hubs, but only two major airports -- in Miami and Orlando, Florida -- are screening every worker every day.

"The fact that there are two airports that are already doing it shows that it can be done," McClain said.

"It takes just one employee, one radical person, to beat the system and bring down a plane -- whether it's knowingly or unknowingly, putting something on a plane," he added. "And that's what we need to thwart."

McClain said airport workers have been caught in the past helping to smuggle drugs or guns on planes. A terrorist could exploit a corrupt worker and get them to unwittingly load a bomb onto a plane, he said.

Kevin Brown, vice president of SEIU 32BJ, the union that represents many employees at JFK, said most of them are subject to regular TSA security checks because they work inside the terminal.

"Safety and security is a huge issue for us," Brown said.

See the worst airports in the world:

11 PHOTOS
Worst airports in the world
See Gallery
'The insider threat is real': Gaps in airport security highlighted in new video
3 reasons Nigeria’s Port Harcourt Int Airport was ranked the world’s worst airport. https://t.co/4g58fpeQpS https://t.co/h7kAGrdUk7
Imagine how Max Air left pple at King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah 24 hours unattended. http://t.co/lITUrGEWZY
#nepal #kathmandu #earthquake #prayfornepal Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport this Monday was chaos. When… http://t.co/iQDjL9VIye
С обратной стороны... (@ Toshkent Xalqaro Aeroporti | Tashkent International Airport (TAS)) https://t.co/F4teKWtDar http://t.co/kYANtHVGlz
Pan Am at Simón Bolívar International Airport (Caracas, Venezuela) http://t.co/FLW5cGhk
We are greeted with music in port-au-prince airport - haiti trip begins http://t.co/6fXHw8gnjf
Kabul International Airport will be named as Hamid Karzai International Airport. http://t.co/f7hPKcbqek
初ベトナム、初ホーチミンだ~。 (@ Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) Sân Bay Quốc Tế Tân Sơn Nhất) https://t.co/kLBgPl5ofM http://t.co/D3vTZNtcsy
#Islamabad's Benazir #Bhutto International Airport last night, airlines providing best of their customer service. http://t.co/0YAKp9bM9p
Know about the Beauvais Tille Airport (#BVA) international Airport ? See more information at: http://t.co/suhcTK4hZt http://t.co/UeGoiA9Erf
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

McClain and his counterparts in New York wrote to the Transportation Security Administration three years ago to urge mandatory daily screening for all airport employees, including TSA officers.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that in April, he issued a directive ordering more security for workers.

"We're evaluating whether more is necessary right now," he told NBC News. "That's something that TSA and I have been focused on as recently as today."

One question is who would pay for the enhanced security. McClain said airports can't say it's too expensive when they spend billions on "aesthetic overhauls."

"Use that money for security improvements," he said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns JFK, said the airlines and the terminal managers should be monitoring the turnstiles the ramp agents were seen using on the videos.

The terminal manager, Schiphol Group, and its subsidiary, JFK Air Terminal LLC, did not respond to requests for comment.

See the safest airlines in the world:

11 PHOTOS
World's safest airlines
See Gallery
'The insider threat is real': Gaps in airport security highlighted in new video

Qantas has had no fatalities in the jet era. The remainder of the top ten safest airlines are in alphabetical order. 

 Photo: Getty 

Singapore Airlines

Photo: AP/Wong Maye-E

Lufthansa

Photo: AP/Martin Meissner

Finnair

Photo: Tomi Setala/Getty

Eva Air

Photo: Getty 

Etihad Airways

Photo: AP/Kamran Jebreili

Emirates

Photo: AP/Kamran Jebreili

Cathay Pacific Airways

Photo: AP/Kin Cheung

British Airways

Photo: AP/Francois Mori

Air New Zealand

Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

More from NBC News:
Massive NSA Phone Data Collection to Cease
Paul Walker's Dad Sues Porsche Over Fatal Crash
Donald Trump Slammed After Mocking Disabled Reporter

Read Full Story

People are Reading