TSA launches airport-wide security surge – program greatly increases screening of airport employees

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National Press Release

WASHINGTON The Transportation Security Administration today announced the first in a series of airport employee security operations to flexibly and nimbly increase layered security measures at our nation's airports. The surge operation, launched yesterday, is underway at Orlando International, Tampa International, Miami International, Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International and Luis Muñoz Marín International (San Juan, Puerto Rico) airports.

TSA has deployed 160 transportation security officers, aviation security inspectors, federal air marshals and other personnel to increase current employee and passenger security capabilities at these five airports. TSA began randomly screening employees working in secure areas of the airport approximately one year ago at 20 airports, and broadened the program early last fall. Now, roving groups of officers screen employees on a random and unpredictable basis nationwide.

“TSA moves in a flexible, nimble fashion to address vulnerabilities with a layered security approach,” said TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. “Every employee should have a reasonable expectation that they could be screened at any time, at any access point within the footprint of the airport.”

This surge implements security enhancements directly focusing on employees working in airport secure areas.  These include:

  • a sharp increase in random, unpredictable screening of employees in secure areas;

  • limiting secure area access during non-business hours and auditing door access during those hours for suspicious activity;

  • deploying integrated teams of federal air marshals, K-9 teams, law enforcement officers and transportation security officers to areas throughout the airport;

  • conducting random screening of employees and passengers at boarding gates, including behavior detection; and

  • TSOs randomly inspecting aircraft.

TSA will conduct additional operations in other regions in the coming weeks and months on an unannounced basis.  While there is no intelligence that indicates a specific threat to aviation in Florida or Puerto Rico, this mobilization illustrates TSA’s ability to quickly and unpredictably deploy assets based on risk. The agency has developed a longer-term, sustainable plan with our airport and airline partners not only for the Florida/Puerto Rico region, but for the entire U.S. aviation system.