Event: TSA public meetings on proposed general aviation rules

From Government Security News:

TSA has announced a series of five public meetings across the country at which it will receive comments from the public on the set of proposed rules it unveiled last October that would require many general aviation aircraft operators to implement strict new security measures.

The meetings will all begin at 9am, on the following locations and dates:

  • Jan. 6    White Plains, NY
  • Jan 16    Atlanta, GA
  • Jan 23    Chicago, IL
  • Jan 28    Burbank, CA
  • Jan 28    Houston, TX

If its new rules are adopted, general aviation operators would be required to take the following security precautions:

  • Ensure their flight crews have undergone fingerprint and criminal history checks;
  • Conduct watch-list matching through a TSA-approved watch-list matching company;
  • Undergo a biennial third-party security audit;
  • Comply with the “twelve-five” cargo requirements, if conducting an all-cargo operation;
  • Screen all passengers and their accessible property, if their aircraft weighs over 100,300 pounds.

TSA is seeking comments at the hearings on a variety of specific issues, including the appropriate threshold weight of covered aircraft, methods for positively identifying aircraft pilots, the role of watch-list service providers, etc.

Further information is available from the TSA at 571-227-2401.

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TSA meets initial passenger aircraft cargo screening goal

From HS Daily Wire:

It’s not everyday that a government agency beats a Congressional deadline, but TSA just has.  Congress mandated through the 9/11 law that 50 percent of cargo on passenger carrying aircraft be screened by February 2009 and 100 percent of cargo be screened by August 2010; And now, four months before the first deadline, TSA says it’s currently screening all cargo on more than 90 percent of all passenger carrying aircraft in the U.S.

DHS Inspector General cites lapses in TSA badge and uniform security

From USA Today:

The TSA lacked centralized controls over the secure passes issued to some of its employees, according to DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner. The passes grant people access to the most sensitive areas of an airport, such as where baggage is screened or planes are parked.

Investigators found numerous cases in which former employees retained their passes long after they had left the agency, and in which TSA uniforms were not collected when employees left or were transferred.

People using improper badges, IDs or uniforms — particularly in combination — “could significantly increase an airport’s vulnerability to unauthorized access and, potentially, a wide variety of terrorist and criminal acts,” the report said.

Congress questions TSA’s new ‘no screening’ policy for airport screeners

From 9News (Colorado):

Citing concerns, three members of Congress on the Homeland Security Committee have asked the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to explain its new policy that says screeners no longer have to go through metal detectors or have their personal belongings examined in the way that passengers do.

[Note: The Homeland Security Committee in question is the House Homeland Security Committee, and one of the members asking was Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chair of the committee]

[Update 10/15: See also reasons why this could actually be an issue, and see also this post from Bruce Schneier which describes how to mitigate the issue by continuing to screen off-duty screeners]

Experts point out that other airport workers, such as mechanics and food and fuel delivery persons do not go through security screening checkpoints every day either. Those workers, who have access to airplanes, have airport security badges and have been given background checks. The new TSA policy adds another group to the list of workers who are not physically screened every day at the airport.