In recent news, TSA is considering reducing, even eliminating, screening at approximately 150 small and medium-sized airports throughout the United States.
If this frightening proposal is implemented, it willmark a significant change for US air travel since the terrorist attacks of 2001. In light of the recent upgrades in screening procedures for items such as laptops and tablets, many airport officials are left questioning the reasons behind this newest proposal.
The Security Proposal
Various internal documents from a TSA working group states that new proposal to cut screening procedures and small and medium-sized airports could very well increase the opportunity for national and international adversary related risks. However, the cut would result in a 115 million dollar increase in annual funds that could be reallocated to larger airports. Regardless of this annual increase, it would leave too much room for security risks throughout the smaller airports.
Stated in the proposal, passengers and their luggage would go through screening once they arrived at major airports for their connecting flights, skipping security at the small airport they initially flew from. In response to this information, terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank explains, “...it’s stunning that this is even being considered. Al Qaeda and ISIS still regard aviation as a priority target--that includes aircrafts where you have fewer than 60 people on board. They would see that as a way to hit the headlines. They would see that as a way to inflict severe economic damage to the United States. If you have an aircraft of 50 or so people being blown out of the sky, there is going to be a great amount of panic and there will indeed be significant economic reverberations, and of course, significant loss of life” (source). Cruickshank isn’t the only one who sees the massive issues this proposal would cost citizens of the US; a TSA field leader expressed his thoughts on this troubling matter, explain how dangerous this new idea could be.
What’s to Come
In light of this proposal, it’s been determined that approximately 10,000 passengers who are screened by 1,299 TSA employees will be affected by this sudden change. So far, specific airports that could be affected by this proposal have not been released. Currently, two TSA officials explain that there is much activity surrounding this proposal. A working group has been created to conduct a risk and cost analysis as well as other tests.
Still in the working and discussion phases, only time will tell if this proposal will be enacted in the coming months and/or years.