TSA Testing Broader PreCheck Trusted-Traveler Eligibility - Business Travel News

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TSA Testing Broader PreCheck Trusted-Traveler Eligibility

January 09, 2013 - 02:00 PM ET

By Holly Leber

A new Transportation Security Administration behavioral screening program will allow more air passengers who appear non-threatening to enter special PreCheck airport security lanes, where travelers may not be required to remove their shoes or their laptops from bags.

The program, unofficially called "managed inclusion," is being tested in airports in Indianapolis and Tampa, Fla.

"We are looking to increase the population of people who can use PreCheck," said TSA director of external communications David Castelveter.

At present, those who may go through PreCheck lines either are frequent flyers who have been invited to do so by an airline or those who have applied and paid a fee to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry Program.

TSA administrator John Pistole told The New York Times that the intent of managed inclusion is to make sure that PreCheck lanes "are being fully utilized" throughout the day, rather than just during peak hours.

Persons deemed non-threatening by TSA personnel will be selected at random to enter the PreCheck lanes.

"It's not a guarantee," Castelveter said. "We don't have the ability to put everyone through PreCheck."

"In general, we support their effort to be more selective," said Steve Lord, U.S. Government Accountability Office director of homeland security and justice issues. "I'd like to know how the officers are identifying people for inclusion in the PreCheck lane. They're being trained to look for high-risk passengers, not low-risk passengers."

Castelveter said behavior detection officers are trained to determine whether it is necessary to take further action in investigating a person demonstrating unusual behavior—sweating or fidgeting, for example.

Physical appearance, he said, will not be a factor.

In August 2012, TSA investigated internal allegations of racial profiling at Boston's Logan International Airport. Following the allegations, additional training was provided.

"All of our officers went through recurrent training to ensure that there is no profiling as part of their observations," Castelveter said.

At present, GAO is not overly concerned about profiling, according to Lord. "We'll have to look at the data." GAO hopes to complete an overall analysis of the behavior detection program in late 2013, Lord said.

Castelveter said TSA hopes to expand the program, but have no set timeline for doing so at this time.

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