TSA resumes random US airport gate screenings

Hotel News - 19/03/2009

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Gate screening can involve identification checks and sweeps with hand-held metal detectors, and were implemented after the September 11 attacks in the U.S. to provide additional security. The screening virtually disappeared in 2003 when TSA implemented security checks on all bags.

TSA follows a "risk-based approach" when instituting security measures, according to spokeswoman Lara Uselding. She told the Associated Press that restoring random gate checks came about "as the agency evolved," and not as a result of any specific threat.

Intelligence is collected by the TSA from state, local and national government agencies – including the FBI – whenever it considers establishing new procedures.

Restoring passenger gate checks follows a new employee security program put in place in 2007, which involves random screenings. The purpose of the checks is to prevent contraband, including weapons, from being passed on to a passenger by an employee.

"Gate screening is particularly effective at addressing insider threats and serves as a random and unpredictable security layer that, like all TSAs security measures, was developed using a risk-based approach," said Uselding. "In support of TSAs overall security strategy, the frequency of gate screening has increased and may occur unannounced at gate areas anytime."

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