Saturday, August 12, 2006

More TSA screeners needed?

An Associated Press article, published on and elsewhere, raises the issue of whether or not the current number of screeners employed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at airports around the U.S. is adequate, in light of the additional workload imposed on them this week.
Since Thursday, screeners have searched more carry-on luggage by hand. They also randomly checked passengers at airport gates to make sure that they hadn't bought toothpaste or drinks at airport shops after going through a security checkpoint.

The TSA, though, is limited by law to have 45,000 screeners. That's not enough to do the job right at the 450 commercial airports the agency protects, according to congressional Democrats.
Officials at the Department of Homeland Security have said that there are enough TSA screeners.

Nevertheless, National Guard troops were called out at some locations to help screen passengers -- especially at gate areas -- and to "help herd crowds through security checkpoints."

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has tried to get the cap on the number of TSA screeners changed.
On July 12, the Senate approved his amendment to lift the cap as part of the Homeland Security spending bill for 2007. The House kept the limit in its version of the bill, and the two versions must be reconciled.

"It's time to put safety first and remove this arbitrary limit," Lautenberg said.
Source: Questions Raised About Airport Staffing -

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