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Monday, Nov 20, 2017
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Faster screening program being tested at Tampa airport

TAMPA - Federal security officers are quietly testing a new program at Tampa International Airport that selects passengers based on their behavior and lets them use a special lane to more quickly get through security screenings. The Transportation Security Administration's "Managed Inclusion" program builds on an earlier program called PreCheck that enables low-risk passengers to pass through checkpoints without having to take off their shoes, belts and light jackets. They also don't have to pull out laptops from their cases or liquids from carry-on bags. TSA screeners for more than a decade have been trained to observe and interact with passengers standing in security lines. Passengers who meet certain criteria – the agency won't share precisely what they're looking for - are flagged for additional scrutiny. The pilot program turns that idea on its head: In addition to identifying suspicious passengers who need more screening, TSA screeners who have been trained in behavior detection will identify passengers in line who they deem to be low-risk. They'll be assisted in their assessment by a dog trained to detect explosives.
Passengers selected will be able to go through the shorter, quicker security process. "This initiative is part of the TSA's intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to move away form a one size fits all process," said TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz. "It puts us closer to our goal of providing the most effective security in the most efficient way." The program is being tested in only two cities: Tampa and Indianapolis, Ind. At Tampa, the program is being tested at one security checkpoint. The PreCheck concept itself is fairly new. The TSA launched the program at a handful of airports across the country in October 2011 and inaugurated the program at Tampa International last July. PreCheck requires passengers to volunteer detailed personal information; in exchange for the information, the passengers can go through the expedited screening. The new Managed Inclusion program, inaugurated at Tampa in November, enables passengers not registered with PreCheck to use the same, faster procedures. Those in the PreCheck line, including those selected under the program, still will have to pass through metal detectors or advanced imaging technology devices. Their carry-ons also will go through an X-ray scanner. And everyone in the PreCheck line, including those pre-approved or selected under the new program, still will be subject to full security screenings on a random basis. The TSA has said little about how its screeners will pick participants for the expedited security. A Government Accountability Office report in 2010 said specially trained TSA "Behavior Detection Officers" look for facial expressions, body language and appearance that indicate the possibility an individual is engaged in some form of deception and fears discovery. The report cites the National Academy of Sciences as stating a scientific consensus does not exist on whether behavior detection principles can be reliably used for counter terrorism purposes. [email protected]

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