- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The multitude of security enhancements the Transportation Security Administration has successfully implemented was left out of The Washington Times’ editorial “Lax airport security” (Opinion, Wednesday). The editorial also failed to mention the outdated nature of the Government Accountability Office report that is the basis for the erroneous claim that TSA has wasted millions of dollars and not made travel safer.

Since the GAO report was initiated more than three years ago, TSA has taken significant steps to strengthen testing procedures and improve the strategic deployment of emerging technologies.

In January, TSA completed the construction of a state-of-the-art facility to test emerging technologies over extended periods of time while simulating a variety of airport operational conditions. This facility enables TSA to evaluate future maintenance needs and the most efficient operational configurations of new equipment while avoiding disruption to the flow of passengers at checkpoints.

Since GAO began this report, TSA has tested and deployed nearly 900 Advanced Technology X-ray machines to security checkpoints nationwide. This state-of-the-art technology is fully upgradable, replaces the legacy X-rays in place since the 1970s and provides much-improved threat-detection capabilities. Many new technologies also have the ability to be upgraded further as more advanced software becomes available.

In addition, TSA deploys a host of other advanced explosive detection equipment that addresses evolving threats. Modern technological solutions endure strict testing in both labs and the operational environment before they are deployed.

The agency will continue to work with Congress to use funds judiciously to replace or enhance nearly all of the pre-Sept. 11 technology we inherited, making travel significantly safer than ever before.


Acting administrator

Transportation Security Administration


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