TSA Says It is Well Prepared For The Holiday Travel Period
"We have coordinated staffing and are committed to maintaining the flow of passenger traffic while properly screening travelers as they move through the security checkpoints," spokesman Nicholas Kimball tells AOL Travel News.
"As we always do during the holiday season, TSA will deploy additional risk-based security measures based on the latest intelligence and continue to work with our international, federal, state, local and private sector partners across the nation to protect the American people," he says.
The TSA security measures will be both seen and unseen, Kimball adds, "including the increased use of explosive detection technology, canine teams and Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams."
Earlier this week, in what turned out to be a false alarm, a computer scanner emitting a small amount of radiation was mistaken for a bomb forcing the brief closure of a terminal at Newark Airport.
Last Christmas of course saw the failed attempt by shoe bomber Richard Reid to ignite explosives on a Detroit-bound flight, one reason TSA is being extra vigilant this holiday season.
"We know there is a lot of threat information, the question is how's that all coalescing around the Christmas and New Year's travel period so that's why we are fully deployed in terms of airports here in the U.S. We have full staffing," TSA Administrator John Pistole tells The Associated Press.
TSA has full body scanners in place at airports nationwide and is using handheld scanners and pat downs at security checkpoints as well as "Behavior Detection Officers (BDO) as an additional layer of security" Kimball says.
The Secure Flight Program is also in effect with airlines required to collect every passengers' full name, date of birth and gender before issuing a boarding pass, so the TSA can check the information against watch lists.
"We also ask the public to remain vigilant during the holiday season and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities," Kimball says.
Photo, Hunter Desportes, Flickr