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TSA says scanners, pat-downs may detect underwear bombs

May 24, 2012

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TSA says scanners, pat-downs may detect underwear bombs
Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole said the TSA’s advanced imaging scanners have “the best chance” of detecting underwear bombs. ?This is not 100 percent guaranteed,? he said. ?If it comes down to a terrorist who has a well-concealed device, and we have no intelligence about him, and he comes to an advanced-imaging technology machine, it is still our best technology. But it?s really an open question about whether the machine, or the AIT operator, would detect the device.? Pistole said the TSA has developed mockups of underwear bombs and is training agents how to detect them via pat-downs. ?If done properly, it may be found,? Pistole said. New York Post (5/24)

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Security Update

Column: TSA says risk-based system will ease screening
The Transportation Security Administration continues to focus on ways to streamline screening for travelers, writes Scott McCartney in The Wall Street Journal. Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole noted that many of the issues that arise during the screening process stem from the volume of travelers screened. “I think there will continue to be incidents,” Pistole said, “but as we move more to risk-based initiatives, we’ll see fewer and fewer.” The Wall Street Journal (5/23)

Flight diverted after passenger raises threat of implanted device
A US Airways flight was diverted and met by Transportation Security Administration agents after a female passenger exhibited suspicious behavior and passed a note indicating she had a surgically implanted device in her body. The flight, which left from Paris and was bound for Charlotte, was diverted to Bangor, Maine, under escort from fighter jets. The traveler was handcuffed and questioned by federal officials. She was later examined by a doctor, who found no scars. WCVB-TV (Boston) (5/22)

Opinion: Visa-waiver programs could one day become integrated
The future of global travel could see all existing visa-waiver circles joining together in one vast network, provided that governments around the world make progress in easing their visa-application processes, Arnie Weissmann writes. An appeal for visa streamlining by attendees at the recent T20 summit in Merida, Mexico, serves as a step in that direction, Weissmann writes. Travel Weekly (5/21)

Port Authority fires security contractor over fake identification issue
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is ending its contract with a company that employed a security supervisor at Newark Airport who worked under a false name for 20 years. FJC Security had two contracts worth $550 million. “Recent serious lapses are unacceptable,” said PA Executive Director Pat Foye. “The entire security function at the PA is under review, including our current private security vendor.” (5/23)

Trends & Technology

Business travel returns, but companies seek to rein in costs
Business travel is rebounding, but companies are trying to keep costs down, this feature says. About 20% of companies have mandated travel programs, which specify airlines, hotels and car-rental firms that travelers can use, a survey shows. “Some companies are very strict,” said Henry H. Harteveldt, co-founder of the Atmosphere Research Group. “If you book outside policy, and you do not get permission, you run the risk of not being reimbursed.” The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (5/21)

Sources: Houston mayor, Southwest will announce Hobby deal
Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Southwest Airlines plan to announce an agreement on financing for a $100 million expansion at William P. Hobby Airport, sources say. Parker and the CEO of Southwest Airlines are scheduled to appear at a news conference today to announce details of a proposal that will allow international flights at Hobby. Houston Chronicle (5/22)

Policy & Regulatory

Column: NextGen is vital to future of airline industry
Columnist Hilary Kramer extols the benefits of NextGen for the airline industry. “By switching to GPS-based systems, airlines can get more planes in the air; these planes can fly, safely, in closer proximity to each other; and the airlines can run more routes, getting more people to more places more quickly,” Kramer writes. Forbes (5/22)

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