Airport security could soon start at the kerb, says TSA boss

Airport security could soon start at the kerb, says TSA boss

The nation’s aviation security forces must shift their focus away from checkpoints and toward public areas of airports to adapt to a changing threat exemplified by a spate of recent attacks, the agency’s new chief said.

David Pekoske, a former vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard who took control of the Transportation Security Administration seven months ago, also called for the agency to become more entrepreneurial and to adapt faster to the shifting risks from terrorists.

"We can no longer focus only on preventing the bad guys from getting into the secure area of an airport," Pekoske said in prepared remarks for what was billed as the first ever state-of-the-TSA address on Wednesday in Washington.

"More and more we must focus on both sides of the checkpoint and in the public areas where airport and surface transportation systems intersect."

Shifting checks to public areas

Since the TSA and other countries’ security agencies have beefed up airport screening following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, terrorists have increasingly turned to areas where people aren’t screened, such as baggage-collection zones or check-in areas.

Twin attacks in Brussels airport and train station locations in March 2016 using that tactic killed 32 people and three attackers.

"We face ambitious adversaries who are continuously looking for a point of attack and waiting for their opportunity," Pekoske said. "Our job is to make sure they never have that opportunity."

The administrator’s speech was short on specifics and contained no new screening protocols.

The TSA leader said the agency needed to "empower the public to see themselves as part of the security solution and as recipients of a secure system." He said he was trying to get TSA to assess threats and to alter security strategies faster.

While he stopped short of calling for what could be a multibillion-dollar investment in new X-ray devices that see bags in three dimensions, he said his goal was to get screeners better tools.

"Aviation and surface transportation hubs remain highly prized targets for terrorists," he said. "Their modes and methods of attack have evolved and become much more decentralized and opportunistic than ever before."

 

15 comments

  • Simon Coveney

    Covvers

    9 Mar, 2018 12:27 am

    I am all for this. With the rise and rise of Islamist terror attacks both in the United States and abroad, constant vigilance is an unfortunate necessity.
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  • Flying Fish

    AWA2602

    9 Mar, 2018 01:25 am

    Do you realise that most of the terror attacks in the USA are not perpetrated by Islamic extremists?
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  • cbourl

    cbourl

    9 Mar, 2018 10:00 am

    I personally like Tel Aviv Ben Gurion security - many multi-layers of polite security.

    Security starts kilometres away from the airport with barriers to get anywhere near the airport -staffed with lots of friendly soldiers and machine guns. Vehicle and passport inspections as required (I self-drive and just get waved through, but Ive seen lots of people stopped, vehicle and passport insepctions You are then subject to being stopped later before you enter the Terminal - Ive never been stopped. Everyone then has security interviews before checkin.

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    JKH

  • xtfer

    xtfer

    9 Mar, 2018 08:51 pm

    It's all very well reprinting news from other services, but "the nation" in this case, is a different one, and the article lacks substance.
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    plane_jane

  • Dredgy

    Dredgy

    9 Mar, 2018 11:29 pm

    So there's lots of airports in the world where they do this, and it mostly sucks. From a comfort point of view, it's irritating if you want to get a meal or coffee before going to security, but from a safety point of view it just puts people into an even more vulnerable airport.

    I've had people attempt to rob me at two airports on the kerb (once at DEL, once at PBM), had similar incidents at FRU and NKC as well. If you have a night flight in a strange city, you want to be indoors.
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    10 Mar, 2018 06:31 am

    Isn't this just a sad reflection of the world we live in at present. This week I saw security scanners being touted for shopping malls, we have presidents talking up arming teachers, pretty soon we'll have scanners at our front doors connected to police systems so they can assess 'risk' every time someone - anyone - leaves their house.
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    Flyman

  • Esteban McArlington

    E747TX

    10 Mar, 2018 02:35 pm

    And yet most terrorist attacks in the US are commited by American citizens who have easy access to guns.
    But that's not a problem, right?
    Let's all instead plant fear about some " evil enemy" that is somewhere in the world waiting to attack ( or may not) our freedom.
    Fear. Fear. Fear.
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    Flyman

  • johnaboxall

    johnaboxall

    10 Mar, 2018 04:08 pm

    It would keep the guests out of the lounges :)
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  • David Henshall

    Red Cee

    10 Mar, 2018 06:35 pm

    Just to walk into an airport or shopping mall in many Middle Eastern countries you go through the FIRST metal detector. You place your case on the conveyor belt, where it is scanned. You then check in your luggage,and go through the SECOND metal detector. Sometimes, there are three. Very inconvenient and painfull.
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  • TheFreqFlyer

    TheFreqFlyer

    29 Apr, 2018 09:10 pm

    Luckily I haven't travelled through a Middle Eastern airport since I was a toddler many years ago. India is also a pain though and by the sounds of it possibly worse than the Middle East. The first process is to produce your passport and e-ticket copy before being allowed in the terminal. In most other countries few travellers even keep a hard copy of their itinerary since everything is computerised these days and the advent of e-tickets. However, I suspect you wouldn't be allowed to check-in for your flight in India (both domestic and international) without a ticket copy that a guard wearing a machine gun inspects.

    Next step is the 1 hour wait in line to get your luggage scanned before you are allowed to check-in for your flight. Only then does the procedure become much the same as anywhere else in the world - check-in, drop off your luggage and go through security and immigration.
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  • Lala295

    Lala295

    12 Mar, 2018 10:56 am

    I like the Chinese style metal sector and bag x-ray to enter the airport, then regular security after passport control.
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  • David Henshall

    Red Cee

    13 Mar, 2018 06:51 pm

    Lala295, I think the less security the better. That’s why I like to avoid Singapore at all costs. Multiple layers of security is what they do at Middle Eastern airports, and they are a grave inconvenience. I question how necessary these multiple layers are, as if they don’t catch any problems at the first checkpoint, they aren’t doing there job properly.
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  • TheFreqFlyer

    TheFreqFlyer

    29 Apr, 2018 09:03 pm

    @Red Cee, last time I flew through Singapore in 2016 they didn't even have body scanners yet, which surprised me. I was of course glad that they only employed the normal metal detectors, yet Bangkok Suvarnabhumi was already using body scanners to the point that only business and first class passengers still have the option of using a metal detector rather than a body scanner. This also surprised me, because in my experience Thailand generally has less security than Singapore yet comparing the two airports BKK and SIN, it's BKK that is more of a pain to pass through.

    Another plus is that security screening is made at the gate, not before immigration, which causes plenty of bottle necks at BKK, not to mention their horribly inefficient immigration (except for Thai citizens and registered permanent residents who can use the e-gates). Unless Singapore has tightened up in the last year or so, for me Changi is still very efficient and I like the fact they seem to have less security than most other airports I've passed through.
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  • Robert Heath

    Sema4beach

    14 Mar, 2018 03:02 pm

    I came thru Changi Yesterday! Painless with iphone Boarding Pass! Security Yes! But Fast and Efficient is What i Found!
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  • cbourl

    cbourl

    30 Apr, 2018 06:42 am

    Ben Gurion today -security barrier 3km out -drove straight through after a quick hi -walked from Hertz car rental drop off into T3 no questions - C/F line for Swiss -Checkin Security staff -showed Aussie and Greek Passports 1 question -did I pack my bags -yes I did - polite, and friendly! - Then Fast Track hand luggage security -nothing off, only need to take laptop out - left all the bottles of water from Tel Aviv hotel in my backpack as wel las the fruit -no issue -3 minutes max!! Then Epass for EU/IL passports to pass border control out of Israel - Max 5 mins from checkin to departure hall at TLV Ben Gurion! WOW! But it wil ltake longer if you fly Y - depends upon the rating the intitial precheckin agent gives you - I get 2 and Fastrack
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25 Sep, 2018 03:59 pm

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