TSA Considering Major Airport Security Shakeup

Posted Mar 3rd 2011 04:00 PMUpdated Mar 3rd 2011 04:16 PM


tsa airport security intellegence

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is considering a significant shift in the way airport security is handled, moving towards a more "intelligence-driven system," that would focus on "higher-risk passengers," the head of the agency said today.

Under the plan, all air passengers would not be treated as potential terrorists.

"If we want to continue to ensure the secure freedom of movement for people and commerce across this great nation and around the world, there are solutions that go beyond the one-size-fits-all system," TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said in a speech at the American Bar Association's (ABA) 6th Annual Homeland Security Law Institute in Washington.

"Everyone is familiar with the current system in place that screens nearly everyone the same way," Pistole said. "My vision is to accelerate TSA's evolution into a truly risk-based, intelligence-driven organization in every way."

The TSA team "is making good progress," in developing new airport security methods, Pistole said.

He said more than 628 million passengers are screened at airport in the U.S. each year and noted "the vast majority of the 628 million present little-to-no risk of committing an act of terrorism."

"We want to focus our limited resources on higher-risk passengers, while speeding and enhancing the passenger experience at the airport," Pistole said.

He did not give say how the new approach might play out at airports, but said he would announce more details later this year.

One idea the agency has explored is having passengers provide additional information about themselves in advance of flights so the TSA can do a risk assessment, and more quickly move those passengers deemed lower risk through airport screening.

Some passengers might even be able to skip taking off their shoes and having to take their laptops out of their carry-on bags.

Under this type of plan, the information collected would be more extensive than the TSA's current Secure Flight Program which requires air passengers to submit their full name, date of birth and gender before they are issued a ticket, so the TSA can check names against its No-Fly List.

In December, a trade group for the world's airlines unveiled a futuristic checkpoint tunnels proposal that would similarly focus on finding "bad people, not just bad objects." The International Air Transport Association said the high-tech system, which it hopes to test by 2013, would be used to speed passengers not deemed high risk through airport security checkpoints.

Pistole admitted the current TSA security screening system is "not perfect."

"We can all testify to the inconvenience we sometimes experience because of such a comprehensive system," he said. "But the other thing we can say with absolute confidence is that this system has effectively secured aviation in this nation since 9/11."
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Susan Anderson Robbi

Where is the constitution does it say we cannot profile? I was scanned the last time I boarded. I wasn't given a choice. On the plane was a lady with a burka. I didn't see her scanned. That is against their religion to have someone see their naked body... but viewing my body is only against my wishes and I am white. I had a t shirt and pants with no pockets. She has a veil on that can hide many items..... but I get scanned.
I also saw an older white gentleman with his belt off and his pants unzipped being groped in view of all. This is outrageous but what is worse, we teach our kids not to let anyone touch them and then they are groped by TSA. Angelina and her two girls arrived at LAX...... wonder if she allowed them to grope her daughters?

July 14 2011 at 3:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Susan Anderson Robbi's comment

I feel the pat down or the scanning has little to do with terrorism. How else does someone incognito (the burka) go unchallenged, yet you are stopped. I will finally be traveling by air in February because there is no convenient method available to me. Otherewise, believe me, I would go by train. Children, the elderly, attractive young women, ME, for that matter, are just as entitled as a Muslim woman to be exempted. I am a modest woman, every bit as modest as the next one. So, what's the deal? It is a means of intimidating the American people...scaring them...demeaning them.

December 05 2011 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm one of those person that get pull out after going thru the mAGNET, GOD forbid I have a knee [replacement . One time I waited close to 10minutes before I got the ok. I'm a senior citizen, 76 years old. they as hell get some better people in there. Also. I went throught the same siystem in Frankfurt Ger. with half the crape you go thru here. Arthur

April 10 2011 at 10:34 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

"Under the plan, all air passengers would not be treated as potential terrorists" unquote.

Congratulations on the new thinking about passenger security checks. I agree with most of the comments concerning the outrage of passenger pat downs and the nude photo machines, non of which have been proven to be effective.

The latest thinking by TSA finally acknowledges the value of passports, other documentation and that the vast majority of people that fly have no links to terrorism. Certainly, those people with poor credentials or suspected of terrorist and criminal activity should then be subject to the additional screening and document checks as required to obtain the facts in each such case. If unable to satisfy the added screening then the passenger can be rejected passage with an explanation of the reason.

I hope for the sake of the travel industry that progres is made in this more objective direction and forward thiking of the TSA.

Joe Scoles

March 22 2011 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jay Rudolph

I used to think there were much smarter people then I running things, but this all changed with the financial melt down. Even i knew home prices could not keep going up! Now they give us the TSA. I would love for someone to explain to me the logic of allowing only a max of 3oz of liquid in a container but bring as many as you want in a plastic bag. Do they know simple math 8 containers of 3oz equals 24 oz. Hey this is not rocket science. And then just assume there was a plot to bomb a plane and 4 terrorist got on they could bring a few gallons of liquid explosives on board as long as they were in 3oz containers. Then when they find something over 3oz like my cough medicine they take it and throw it away in a basket right behind them. I guess they really feel it could be dangerous so they keep it close to them! I am not the smartest person in the room but the people running this show sure are not either!

March 22 2011 at 4:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You know standing next to a X-RAY scanner allo day evar day is a guarantee to get Leukaemia

March 05 2011 at 8:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pistole always was, and still is, the problem - not the solution he would like you to believe. He, and his partner in incompetence Napolitano, can claim responsibility for pat-downs, scanners, self-admitted 15% - 70% effectiveness rates, missing every known threat, and outright cowardice over the profiling issue. It seems quite presumptuous and self-serving to claim any credit for successes that never occured. If they want an effective overhaul of the tsa, start at the top.

March 04 2011 at 1:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Most airports do not have to use the tsa they can use another company.

March 04 2011 at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katherine Zaylor

As a non-threat to the country or other countries, I'm definitely fine with putting up with the longer security measures since it will screen for people who ARE threats.

March 03 2011 at 10:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Galt

You are a coward, move to China or Russia. GTFO of this country.

March 03 2011 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Pistole must have missed this article:


I wouldn't call THAT "effectively secured". Remeber what happened last time a few box cutters got on a plane?

March 03 2011 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply