Individuals who sign-up for the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) Pre-Check program must undergo an extensive background investigation, including fingerprinting. But at several northeast airports, unscreened passengers are being waved through the same lines reserved for pre-screened travelers, reports New York's CBS2
“Almost every time I’ve been through Pre-Check at JFK the lines have merged, I’ve actually asked what’s going on and they say it’s for expediency sake,” Paula Froelich, Editor-In-Chief, Yahoo Travel told the CBS News local affiliate, which launched the probe into the TSA Pre-Check program.
In a statement, the TSA said its security approach is intelligence-driven and that "the vast majority of airline passengers are low risk.”
The waving through of passengers without background checks through the Pre-Check lines is not isolated to New York airports.
“I find that this system is quite random and in many cases, I don’t even bother because the line is not so much shorter. I have also found that there are an awful lot of people selected as Pre-Check at every checkpoint, which defeats the purpose entirely,” traveler Wendy Lewis told The Blaze
TSA spokesman Russ Feinstein told The Blaze that some "eligible passengers" are moved into the pre-screened line to improve efficiency.
When asked what qualifies an individual as “eligible,” Feinstein referred reporter Liz Klimas to the section on its webpage that describes the screening process.
The merging of security lines is just one of the concerns raised about TSA's screening process.
Evan Booth, an engineer for the Charlotte, N.C.-based Skookum Digital Works, claimed that the TSA's focus on a single screening checkpoint overlooks the possibility terrorists could use items sold at stores at departure gates to build a bomb, reported WJLA
Booth has even produced a videos demonstrating the weapons and explosives he has made from items found at airport gift shops.
"I've sent them all the documentation [to the TSA] and have heard no response back," says Booth.
In a statement, Lori Dankers, a TSA Public Affairs Manager, said the administration is dedicated to "keeping individuals and items that can cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft off of airplanes" and employs "multiple layers of security to protect the traveling public, both seen and unseen by the public."
The TSA just announced the extension of expedited screening benefits
to students of four U.S. service academies: U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy, Coast Guard Academy and Air Force Academy.
Presently, all members of the U.S. Armed Services, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, qualify for pre-screening privileges.
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