TSA begins travel document checking pilot program at JFK Airport

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National Press Release
Sunday, June 24, 2007

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has assumed responsibility for validating passenger identification and boarding passes at a number of security checkpoints at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The Port Authority Police Department provides law enforcement support.

TSA's document checking adds an important layer of defense for aviation security beyond the existing checkpoint. Today, TSA security officers are conducting document checking at more than 200 smaller airports, as well as Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) and Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) in addition to JFK. Airline contract employees previously conducted document checking at these facilities.

"Now trained security officers will have the capability to detect individuals who attempt to board an aircraft with suspect documents," said TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. "Fraudulent IDs and boarding documents can subvert the security process and this effort sends someone with a fake ID to law enforcement and not the boarding gate."

In addition to fraudulent document detection, TSA officers serving in this role are also trained in interview techniques and methods to identify suspicious behavior. These positions are being funded by efficiencies gained through lower attrition and fewer injuries and are consistent with the agency's evolving use of transportation security officers beyond the security checkpoint.

As part of the fiscal year 2008 budget request, the President has requested funding from Congress for an additional 1,300 document checking security officers. Combined with existing resources, 2,000 travel document checkers will be deployed, based on risk, to airports across the country in fiscal year 2008. This critical interaction with passengers gives TSA an additional opportunity to observe behavioral cues and identify anomalies that would warrant additional screening.

TSA employs a risk-based, layered approach to security including: the "No Fly List", checkpoint screening, 100 percent screening of all checked baggage, behavior detection, canine explosives detection teams, employee screening, air cargo screening, hardened cockpit doors, armed pilots, crew member self-defense training and thousands of federal air marshals on hundreds of flights daily. Any one of these layers can stop a terrorist and together they form a robust security regime that is flexible enough to defend against a broad range of threats.

For more information, visit the TSA Web site at www.tsa.gov.