TSA at Sacramento International Airport using credential authentication technology to improve checkpoint screening capabilities

Local Press Release
Thursday, February 27, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - New technology that confirms the validity of a traveler’s photo identification and confirms their flight information is being used by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at some of the security checkpoints at Sacramento International Airport (SMF).

TSA currently has six Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units at SMF. Because CAT units are portable and can be moved among checkpoints as needed, travelers can expect to see them in use at either of the airport’s security checkpoints. 

When a CAT unit is in use, a TSA officer will ask the traveler to provide their photo ID. The TSA officer will insert the photo ID into the CAT unit where it will be scanned and analyzed.

CAT units are programmed to verify whether the traveler’s ID is authentic, fraudulent or expired. In addition, CAT is linked electronically to the Secure Flight database, which provides confirmation of the traveler’s flight details, ensuring they are ticketed for travel that day. CAT also notes the type of screening (such as TSA PreCheck) the traveler is eligible for, all without a boarding pass.

“Credential Authentication Technology is an effective tool for our TSA officers, providing real-time fraudulent ID detection capabilities while confirming the identity and flight information of the traveler,” said TSA Federal Security Director at Sacramento International Airport Sid Hanna. “We are pleased to be using this additional layer of security during the travel document checking process.”

Even with TSA’s use of CAT, travelers still need to check-in with their airline and show their boarding pass to the airline gate agent before boarding their flight. Each unit costs approximately $27,000 and is programmed to scan more than 2,500 different types of IDs.

TSA at SMF began using the technology in early February. TSA plans to have more than 500 CAT units deployed at more than 40 airports nationwide by the end of February 2020.