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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Press Release

TSA Launches Employee Security Surges at Houston Airports

Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Contact:
TSA Press Office
(571) 227-2829

HOUSTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced another in a series of operations to flexibly and nimbly augment employee security measures at our nation’s airports. Launched June 7, the operation took place at George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby airports, both in Houston.

Over 100 local transportation security officers, aviation security inspectors, federal air marshals and other personnel were deployed to execute those efforts.

This initiative is one more measure that adds to TSA's strong, layered approach to aviation security,” said TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. Since this fall, when we launched our enhanced employee screening program, anyone accessing sterile and secure areas of the airport should expect that they could be screened at any time.

The operations implement several security enhancements directly focusing on employees working in secure areas of airports. These include:

  • A sharp increase in random, unpredictable screening of employees in secure areas;
  • Severely limiting secure area access during non-business hours and auditing door access during those hours for suspicious activity; and
  • Deploying integrated teams of federal air marshals, TSA-certified explosive detection canine teams, behavior detection officers, airport law enforcement officers and transportation security officers to areas throughout the airport.

In Houston, security officers and behavior detection officers conducted random screening of approximately 5,200 employees and passengers at boarding gates, and completed identification checks of over 6,300 employees. They also performed random inspections on nearly 200 aircraft and 700 vehicles.

As a result of this effort, security officers discovered five employees with expired airport security badges and two who did not have credentials. The expired badges were confiscated and the employees in violation were escorted off airport property.

TSA will conduct additional employee security measures in the coming months on an unannounced basis. TSA and its airport and airline partners are also developing a longer term comprehensive plan to greatly enhance employee screening.

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