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TSA chief: Screeners will keep targeting high-risk travelers

- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2012

Airport security screeners will increasingly focus on high-risk passengers, although unpopular screening measures — like random pat-downs, even for grannies and babies — are likely to continue for the time being, the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Monday.

John Pistole told an audience at the National Press Club that the TSA was using cutting-edge technology and better intelligence to "move away from a one-size-fits-all security model" that treats all passengers as equal risks.

He singled out the agency's PreCheck program, nationally launched last month. Selected frequent fliers, who are low-risk because they have been through a TSA background check, will get speedier treatment at screening checkpoints.

Mr. Pistole also highlighted the introduction last year of less invasive checkpoint procedures for children under 12 years old.

By filtering out low-risk passengers and using more officers trained to spot travelers whose behavior is suspicious, the agency could concentrate its resources on more suspicious travelers, he said.

"Our ability to find the proverbial needle in the haystack is improved every time we are able to reduce the size of the haystack," he said.

"These efforts allow our officers to focus their attention on those travelers we believe are more likely to pose a risk."

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