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Tag: Airports

TSA Testing New Way to Speed Up Airport Lines, Improve Security

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA is researching ways to speed up airport lines and improve security.

CBS News reports the TSA is testing computer-tomography – or CT – scanners at a checkpoint in the Phoenix airpot.

The technology would be used to inspect carry-on bags. TSA uses CT scanners for checked baggage.

The scanners generate 3-D images, which are analyzed by computers.

With the technology, screeners would not need to examine X-ray images of every bag.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-Senator: TSA ‘Is Locked in a Time Warp’ As Lines Get Longer

Airport crowdBy Ex-Senator Judd Gregg
The Hill

The Transportation Security Administration is an agency that really is lost.

The TSA was created in the immediate wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when everything was a bit chaotic.

As a government and as a nation, we were desperate to take actions — and put in place systems — that would avoid a repeat of that horrific day.

Since the attacks had come through the air, air security was one of the obvious and necessary places to begin. Thus the TSA arose.

But like so many things that are created in haste to address an immediate need or threat, reforms are needed. The threat changes over time and the manner of addressing that threat also needs to change.

In the world of government and bureaucracy such adjustments tend to be problematic, however. This is what has happened with the TSA. The agency is locked in a time warp and people who need to get on airplanes are locked in absurdly long lines.

It is appropriate in trying to understand the depth of this problem to review a few facts that were there at the start, when the TSA was born.

First and most important is the event of 9/11 itself.

What made this attack so devastating was something that should have been obvious to anyone interested in how terrorists might try to harm us.

Specifically, it was the use of a commercial airplane filled with fuel as a missile, guided by individuals who were fanatical enough to be willing to sacrifice their lives to deliver this weapon to its target.

Novels had been written using this premise.

But, for reasons never fully explained, no one in the business of protecting our nation had ever come up with a serious strategy to neutralize this threat.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Federal Lawmakers Propose Widely Different Ways to Tackle Long Lines at Airports

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Lawmakers are offering potential solutions to long wait times at airport.

After Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, suggested $28 million in extra funding for three busy northeast airports, another lawmaker suggesting adding private screeners.

The Hill reports that Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., wants the TSA to use more private screeners.

Of the 472 commercial airports, only 22 have help from private contractors.

“My question is: why?” Black said. “Congress must ensure that TSA culture and policies aren’t standing in the way of allowing businesses the ability to compete for these opportunities.”

Black also wants a realistic cost of private contractors.

“Congress can’t keep throwing taxpayer money at a broken agency that, by every metric, is failing our travelers, without demanding reform,” Black said.

Other Stories of Interest

Sen. Schumer Proposes Freeing Up Airport Security Lines with $28M

airport lineBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Responding to complaints about long lines at airports, Sen. Charles Schumer wants to divert $28 million in federal funds to hire 600 new TSA agents.

The New York Post reports that the money would be used for security at JFK, La Guardia and Newark airports.

“We have to do everything we can to reduce wait times,” Schumer said. “It affects thousands of New Yorkers who travel every day, but it affects the whole country because when there are backups here, the rest of the country gets backed up as well.”

The TSA said earlier this month that security-checkpoint wait times had significant increased.

Other Stories of Interest

 

Airports Consider Replacing TSA with Private Screeners to Ease Lines

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Airports frustrated with long security lines are considering firing TSA screeners and replacing them with private contractors.

As wait times have topped two and three hours at some airports, airports are looking for ways to ease the delays, Bloomberg reports. 

Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are “discussing a variety of options” that included replacing TSA with a private a contractor.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is considering a similar move.

San Francisco International uses private screeners.

Jeff Holmgren, the TSA federal security director at the Seattle airport, maintains “there is no statistical difference in terms of effectiveness or efficiency” between federal and private screeners.

TSA Head of Security Forced Out over Frustrations with Long Airport Lines

Kelly Hogan.

Kelly Hogan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Amid allegations of mismanagement, Kelly Hoggan, TSA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Security Operations, has been removed from his position.

CNN reports the House Oversight Committee was not happy with allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers and the $90,000 in bonuses that Hoggan received.

The bonuses came at a time when security lines were lengthening.

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said he did not “tolerate” potential retaliation and planned to “look into it.”

A memo from Neffenger to employees also announced several changes to TSA management.

“These adjustments will enable more focused leadership and screening operations at critical airports in the national transportation system,” Neffenger wrote in the memo, which CNN obtained from an official within the agency.

Star-Ledger: Homeland Security, TSA Mismanaged Security at Airports

airport scanner 2By Paul Mulshine
The Star-Ledger

The head of the Transportation Safety Administration announced recently that the agency has a plan to deal with the long lines at many of the most important airports in America.

The plan is to warn us that the lines will get even worse this summer.

This is just the latest outrage that makes a lot of travelers hate the TSA. That feeling was buttressed for me when I was talking with a guy I went to high school with at Donovan Catholic in Toms River during the late 1960s.

After 9/11, this guy got a job with the TSA as a “behavioral officer.” There are 3,000 of these.  They walk around airports looking for people acting who are acting suspiciously.

The airport he  walks around is O’Hare in Chicago, the busiest airport in America and the one with the longest lines. When I asked him how many potential terrorists the behavioral officers at O’Hare had caught, he said none.

But they and the customs agents there sure did miss a couple big ones. That would be Syed Farook and his Pakistani-born, Saudi-reared fiancee Tashfeen Malik. They sailed through customs there on July 27, 2014, after traveling from Saudi Arabia and then switched planes for California.

To read more click here. 

NY Post: Best Way to Fix Long Lines at Airports Is to Replace TSA

airport lineBy Benjamin Powell
New York Post

Long delays at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at major airports nationwide have been causing passengers to miss flights. The situation will likely get worse during summer, experts predict.

JFK, according to Fox News Travel, has “by far” one of the worst TSA checkpoints.

But security delays are not the TSA’s only problem.

Newark Liberty International, which runs a close second to JFK on Fox News’ list of US airports with “the worst TSA checkpoints,” also was slammed for lax screening and reports of employee theft. That resulted in a rare occurrence in government: Several employees were actually dismissed.

Not to be outdone, a screener at JFK last summer was likewise busted for theft, trying to abscond with a passenger’s Rolex watch. Another TSA security screener at JFK was arrested three weeks later on an unrelated theft charge.

And, of course, there is the competency issue. As The Post’s Philip Messing reported last fall, “security screeners at Kennedy and Newark airports have consistently failed to find weapons and bombs being smuggled by undercover operatives posing as airline passengers.”

There is a ready solution to the TSA’s problems: Replace the agency. In large airports with multiple security checkpoints, airlines should be required to hire their own screeners and set their own procedures, bypassing the TSA.

Competition among the airlines would help set the proper balance between safety and efficiency, based on passenger preference and demand. This same competitive process would also weed out unnecessary procedures that add little to safety while increasing delays.

To read more click here.