TSA “surges” screening in airport secure areas

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the airport, the Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that it would begin random screening of airport employees and passengers within airport secure areas nationwide.

In addition, TSA has sent 160 additional screeners, air marshals and other personnel to five airports in Florida and Puerto Rico as a “surge” to screen employees already in secure areas, in response to last week’s arrests of two airport employees who allegedly smuggled firearms from Florida to Puerto Rico, along with two other people who allegedly supplied the guns, and an incident two weeks ago in which an airport employee smuggled a former vice president and his aides into an airport secure area.

“TSA moves in a flexible, nimble fashion to address vulnerabilities with a layered security approach,” TSA head Kip Hawley said in a news release. “Every employee should have a reasonable expectation that they could be screened at any time, at any access point within the footprint of the airport.”

The surge operation began Monday at Orlando International, Tampa International, Miami International, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International airports in Florida and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, P.R., TSA said.

At airports nationwide, TSA will randomly screen airport employees doing their jobs in secure areas as well as passengers at departure gates. In addition, TSA will audit access to electronic locks which provide employees access to secure areas, as well as randomly inspect aircraft. No word yet on how much these new measures will delay your flight.

“While there is no intelligence that indicates a specific threat to aviation in Florida or Puerto Rico,” TSA says, “this mobilization illustrates TSA’s ability to quickly and unpredictably deploy assets based on risk.”

After, of course, the “risky” people were already arrested. After all, that’s the way Homeland Security works.

(Hat tip: 27B Stroke 6)

One thought on “TSA “surges” screening in airport secure areas

  • March 22, 2007 at 1:42 am

    The alleged “surge” at Orlando referenced in this article only lasted a week – exactly long enough for the local TV stations to get some footage of morbidly obese TSA employees sitting at tables in front of access points. (Hopefully it will be used as file footage for every TSA news story from now on.) The central Florida NBC affiliate, WESH, re-visited OIA a little over a week after the “surge” started and found that it had already ended. Clearly, the security threat was an aberration and passengers should realize that they are once again safe to travel. In addition, I applaud Scott Lewis in post #1 for pointing out that the real threat lies with the front-line screeners, and I agree with him that TSA leads, supervisors, management and staff cannot be effectively vigilant if they are subjected to random searches.

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