Sen. Charles Schumer called for a probe of security safeguards at nuclear plants following revelations that a suspected al-Qaeda operative worked at six U.S. atomic facilities, including three in New Jersey.
The 26-year-old is a U.S. citizen and officials say he passed all necessary background checks when he worked as a contract laborer at plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Schumer says he wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Inspector General to look into the reliability of background checks conducted on plant workers.
He says the episode suggests checks may need to be more thorough.
"This case clearly shows that we need a thorough review of the NRC’s background check procedures and better monitoring of employees at nuclear plants, Schumer said in a statement. "We simply cannot tolerate at any time having someone with terrorist ties working at a nuclear plant, period. It seems like common sense but clearly we need to tighten up the system."