As Frustration Grows, Airports Consider Ditching TSA


Derek Kravitz
Washington Post
Friday, December 31, 2010

Some of the nation’s biggest airports are responding to recent public outrage over security screening by weighing whether they should hire private firms such as Covenant to replace the Transportation Security Administration. Sixteen airports, including San Francisco and Kansas City International Airport, have made the switch since 2002. One Orlando airport has approved the change but needs to select a contractor, and several others are seriously considering it.

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The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which governs Dulles International and Reagan National airports, is studying the option, spokeswoman Tara Hamilton said.

Airports that choose private screeners must submit the request to the TSA. There are no specific criteria for approval, but federal officials can decide whether to grant the request “based on the airport’s record of compliance on security regulations and requirements.” The TSA pays for the cost of the screening and has the final say on which company gets the contract.

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Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), the incoming chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has written to 200 of the nation’s largest airports, urging them to consider switching to private companies. The TSA was “never intended to be an army of 67,000 employees,” he said.

Full story here.


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