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Top ten stories for AAAE Security SmartBrief

March 28, 2012
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Our mission is to save you time and keep you smart. So you won’t miss a thing, here are the top ten most-clicked stories in AAAE Security SmartBrief from the past 7 days.
1. TSA agents find “debrainer,” explosives training device at checkpoints
Transportation Security Administration agents detected a martial arts “debrainer” weapon and a device used to train explosives experts at airport security checkpoints last week, wrote the TSA’s Blogger Bob Burns. Agents at the Seattle/Tacoma International Airport found the training device, which was inert. The “debrainer” was found by agents at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. “I’m not sure what this is actually called, but I’m sure in the right hands, this implement of death is quite capable of extracting a brain,” Burns wrote. Government Security (03/26)
2. TSA adds PreCheck at Chicago, Washington, D.C., airports
The Transportation Security Administration launched its PreCheck program this week at airports in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. There are now 12 U.S. airports participating in the program. More than 540,000 passengers have been screened through the program since it was launched in October 2011. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (03/20)
3. Hearing will address waste at TSA
Lawmakers will address possible waste and mismanagement at the Transportation Security Administration during a joint hearing today. Despite concerns about inefficiency, the TSA continues to prevent banned items from passing through security checkpoints. So far this year, the TSA has detected 267 guns in carry-on bags nationwide. Broward-Palm Beach New Times (Fla.) (03/26)
4. Oklahoma police investigate airport dragging incident
The Oklahoma City Police Department Office of Professional Standards is investigating an incident that allegedly involved several officers dragging a man face down through the Will Rogers World Airport. The man, James Heidebrecht, 53, was arrested on complaints of trespassing and disorderly conduct. He said he was at the airport to meet Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrinch. An airport spokeswoman noted that the airport relies on the Transportation Security Administration for security of passengers and aircraft. “But as far as law enforcement, Oklahoma City provides that. And they’re on duty 24/7,” Karen Carney says. Google (03/26)
5. US Airways reportedly is discussing merger plan with AMR creditors
US Airways is said to be briefing creditors of AMR Corp. on plans for a possible merger with American Airlines, sources say. US Airways would seek to create a merger plan before American’s parent exits bankruptcy protection, a move that Allied Pilots Association spokesman Tom Hoban says may be welcome to allow labor unions to negotiate with new management. U.S. Bankruptcy Court has approved AMR’s request to extend the period for filing its reorganization plan from March to Sept. 28. Bloomberg (03/23) Charlotte Observer (N.C.), The (03/23)
6. Poll: Do you participate in Global Entry or PreCheck?
Check AAAE Security Smartbrief Thursday for poll results?
7. Column: TSA takes steps to ease screening
New Transportation Security Administration programs make it easier for individuals who are very young, elderly or have an extra $100 to pass through airport security, writes Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of FareCompare. He notes that the TSA recently relaxed screening requirements for the elderly at four airports. Last fall, it also eased screening for children. “Now if kids (and older travelers, too) set off any “alarm” when going through a body scanner, they can go through again, even ‘multiple times’ instead of getting an automatic pat-down,” he writes. Meanwhile, the TSA’s Pre-check program will be expanded to 35 airports by the end of the year. PreCheck allows fliers to pay $100 and pass a pre-screening program to move more quickly through security. ABC News (03/23)
8. Airlines tinker with cabin pressure to find comfort zone
“The rate at which the cabin” of an airliner “is pressurized appears to have a significant” effect on the comfort of passengers, this feature notes. That explains why Boeing and Airbus are tinkering with the pressure level on planes in an attempt to provide a more comfortable flying experience. The humidity level is also being reviewed. (U.K.) (03/19)
9. TSA to test screening procedures for elderly before expansion
At this point, it is not clear when the Transportation Security Administration will expand relaxed screening for elderly travelers to smaller airports. Screeners at airports in Chicago, Denver, Portland, Ore., and Orlando, Fla., will use the modified screening process. “We’re optimistic in the future that we can roll that out to additional airports,” TSA spokesman James Fotenos said Monday. “It’d be premature to say if and when at this point.” (Michigan) (free registration) (03/19)
10. $1B San Diego airport expansion nears halfway mark
A $1 billion project to add 10 gates at Lindbergh Field’s Terminal 2 in San Diego is almost 50% complete. Work will also include construction of a second entrance to the airport. The terminal expansion project is scheduled for completion in 2013. KGTV-TV (San Diego) (03/19)
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