- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2002

LINTHICUM, Md. (AP) The Transportation Security Administration rolled out its first all-federal checkpoint yesterday, the next step toward replacing all passenger screeners with government employees.
At Baltimore-Washington International Airport here, the federal workers will screen passengers at two of five airport checkpoints. The government will take over the other three checkpoints within a month, officials said, making the airport the first in the country with an all-federal security work force.
"You hire good people, you give them proper training, and you're going to be a success," said John Magaw, undersecretary of transportation for security, who heads the new agency.
The federal security screeners must go through more rigorous training than their private-sector counterparts, and they are paid more money. Some have said low pay and inadequate training of private-sector screeners has led to lax security.
The two checkpoints now staffed by federal employees were formerly handled by Argenbright Security, a firm that has had several well-publicized problems, including a $1 million fine for failing to check the backgrounds of its employees.
Also yesterday, the security agency released a new list of items that passengers may not bring onto planes. The list includes toy weapons, dog-repellent spray and ice picks. Guns, knives, screwdrivers and Mace were banned previously.
Passengers will be allowed to bring on nail clippers, tweezers, safety razors, chains and umbrellas.
Despite the ban on sharp objects, hundreds of scissors, knives and box cutters were confiscated in less than a week at BWI. Mr. Magaw stood behind a table filled with the contraband to remind passengers not to try to bring those items on board.
"You wonder whether they're testing us," Mr. Magaw said.

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