- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2002

Beginning today, the federal government will open parking lots at the country's biggest airports that have been off-limits since September 11 because of worries about car bombs.
Federal officials will also change the way air travelers are screened after they pass through security checkpoints during the next few weeks, checking them at only randomly selected gates, said Transportation Security Administration spokesman Robert Johnson.
"We're trying to avoid screening Grandma two or three times as she makes her way home for the holidays," Mr. Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson said the prohibition on unattended vehicles parking within 300 feet of a terminal will be dropped today as long as the terrorist threat level is at code yellow, or "elevated," the middle of a five-point scale of risk developed after the terror attacks.
TSA chief James Loy was scheduled to announce the change at an airport security conference co-sponsored by the Airports Council International-North America and the American Association of Airport Executives.
The so-called 300-foot rule will be reimposed if the threat level rises to orange or red, Mr. Johnson said.
New layers of airport security allow the rules to be eased, Mr. Johnson said, listing a better-trained screener work force, federal air marshals, background checks of people who work beyond airport security checkpoints and screening of checked baggage at 252 airports.
Todd Hauptli, an airport lobbyist, said the airports have pushed the TSA hard to let them reopen their close-in parking lots.
The TSA will change boarding-pass procedures at all or part of eight airports, adding to the nine that are in a program to eliminate gate screening.
Mr. Johnson said the boarding-pass procedures will be changed at Milwaukee's Gen. Mitchell International Airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport, Boston's Logan International Airport, Memphis International Airport in Tennessee, Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport.

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