TSA at Portland and Bangor get new Credential Authentication Technology

Local Press Release
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
A TSA officer at Bangor International Airport confirms a passenger’s ID with a new CAT machine. (TSA photo)

PORTLAND, Maine – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Portland Jetport and Bangor International Airport are now using new technology that confirms the validity of a traveler’s identification (ID).

The three newly deployed credential authentication technology (CAT) units, two at Portland and one at Bangor, will scan a passenger’s photo identification to verify the authenticity of the document. The system uses information from the photo identification to confirm a passenger’s flight status by cross-referencing it against the Secure Flight database.

When a traveler places their ID in the CAT unit, it informs the TSA officer if the ID is valid. Travelers who approach the TSA travel document checking podium will not have to show their boarding pass.

“We’re looking forward to using this technology. It’s going to enhance our detection capability for identifying fraudulent passenger identification at Portland and Bangor security checkpoints.,” said Bob Allison, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Maine. “The system makes document checking more efficient and effective by confirming the passenger’s flight status in near real time.”

CAT units authenticate several thousand types of IDs including passports, military common access cards, retired military ID cards, Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards, uniformed services ID cards, permanent resident cards, U.S. visas and driver’s licenses and photo IDs issued by state motor vehicle departments.

In addition, it is critical that travelers have their REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other acceptable form of identification by the Oct. 1, 2021, deadline. The CAT units will not accept a driver’s license after Oct. 1, 2021, if it is not REAL ID-compliant.

A CAT unit consists of the passport reader, an ID card reader, a Federal personal identity verification ID card reader, a monitor, a stand and a UV light. Each unit costs approximately $27,000.