Pistole: Security clearance holders could get expedited airport security

Tools

Holders of federal security clearances could become the next class of individuals to receive expedited treatment in Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoints.

"Clearly, that is a category of people that we as a society know and trust more than others," TSA Administrator John Pistole told a Nov. 10 audience at an event hosted by Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

TSA, he added, is working with the director of national intelligence to explore a way of implementing a system that would permit security clearance holders to typically go through a less intrusive airport security checkpoint.

The TSA earlier this year unveiled an expedited airport security program in four American airports known as PreCheck for frequent passengers who undergo pre-screening and has plans to expand the program to an additional three in the coming months. Right now only frequent fliers of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, as well as some members of a Customs and Border Protection expedited border crossing program known as Trusted Traveler, can participate in PreCheck.  

PreCheck passengers go through lines that permit them to keep their belts on pants, shoes on feet, light jackets worn, laptops in laptop cases and liquids and gels in a carry-on bag.

During the event, Pistole also said that the TSA behavioral observational technique program rolled out by TSA at Boston Logan and in October to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport might not be implementable on a nationwide basis. "To try to do over 625 million [passengers] at 450 airports is a significant challenge," he said, citing the monetary concerns and passenger volume.

The program has come under criticism for lacking a scientific basis and for encouraging racial profiling. "We are not in the profiling business," Pistole said. The program's inspiration, a program at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport, does engage in profiling, Pistole said.

"The Israelis are very upfront about 'We do profile, here's why, there's the threat,'" he said.

For more:
- go to the event webpage (archived webcast available)

Related Articles:
PreCheck to expand 'as broadly as possible,' says Pistole 
TSA to expand its greeter program nationwide 
TSA and industry envision airport security's hassle-free future