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Tag: Airports

2019 Was Record Year for Guns Confiscated at Airports by TSA

Guns seized at US airports, via TSA

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA seized more firearms at airports in 2019 than any year in its 18-year-history.

TSA officers discovered 4,432 guns in carry-on and checked bags at checkpoints nationwide, a 5% increase over 2018, the TSA announced in a news release.

“The continued increase in the number of firearms that travelers bring to airport checkpoints is deeply troubling,” David Pekoske, the TSA’s administrator, said.

“There is a proper way to travel safely with a firearm. First and foremost, it should be unloaded. Then it should be packed in a hard-sided locked case, taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared, and checked.”

Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) ranked first among the nation’s airports with 323 firearms confiscated. DFW International Airport came in second with 217 guns confiscated. Denver International Airport (DEN), George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) rounded off the top five.

All travelers, apart from law enforcement, are barred from bringing guns in airplanes, though firearms may be stored in checked luggage if all local, state and federal gun laws are followed.

You Won’t Believe the Bizarre Banned Items Confiscated at Airports in 2019

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA confiscated tens of thousands of banned items at security checkpoints in 2019.

Some of the items were dangerous, and others were just strange. They ranged from slingshots and fireworks to a gun-shaped toilet paper roller, according to a compilation by The Washington Examiner.

Here is a sample of what TSA officers found:

 

Amid Fierce Criticism, Homeland Security Abandons Plans to Photograph American Travelers at Airports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Facing a firestorm of criticism, Homeland Security is abandoning plans to expand the federal government’s facial recognition system by requiring all travelers, including Americans, to be photographed if they are leaving or entering the country.

Homeland Security was expected to propose the regulation change in July, igniting privacy concerns and trepidation about the accuracy of facial recognition technology.

Homeland Security officials responded by saying it no longer plans to move forward with the plan.

“There are no current plans to require U.S. citizens to provide photographs upon entry and exit from the United States. CBP intends to have the planned regulatory action regarding U.S. citizens removed from the unified agenda next time it is published,” the agency said in a news release.

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who was among the toughest critics, had pledged to introduce legislation to stop the proposal.

Facial recognition technology has come under intense criticism from local, state and federal lawmakers because of its lack of accuracy, especially when applied to people of color.

Homeland Security Wants to Photograph Americans at Airports for Expanded Facial Recognition System

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are mulling a plan to expand the U.S. government’s facial recognition system by requiring all travelers, including Americans, to be photographed as they are departing or entering the country.

Homeland Security is expected to officially propose the new requirements in July, the Associated Press reports.

The proposal comes as several airlines are testing facial recognition technology at U.S. airports.

The plan has already come under criticism by federal lawmakers, including Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who pledged to introduce legislation to stop the proposal.

Facial recognition technology has come under intense criticism from local, state and federal lawmakers because of its lack of accuracy, especially when applied to people of color.

“This new notice suggests that the government is reneging on what was already an insufficient promise,” Jay Stanley, a policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. “Travelers, including U.S. citizens, should not have to submit to invasive biometric scans simply as a condition of exercising their constitutional right to travel.”

Trump’s Crackdown on the Border Could Make Airports Less Safe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Transportation Security Administration, which protects America’s airports by screening passengers, could lose substantial funding to finance President Trump’s crackdown at the southern border.

The Department of Homeland Security is asking for $232 million from the TSA to fund increased security measures at the border, a controversial move that underscores the dramatic shifts in priorities after the 9/11 attacks.

Homeland Security is requesting the money in case Congress doesn’t support a $1.1 billion funding request, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

A DHS spokesman said the agency is “considering all options” to combat the influx of migrants at the southwest border.

“We will continue to work with our workforce to find dynamic solutions and funding to address this very serious problem. As part of this effort, it is our responsibility to explore fiscal mechanisms that will ensure the safety and welfare of both our workforce and the migrant population, which is also reflected in the supplemental request submitted to Congress,” said DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton.

TSA Sending Up to 400 Personnel to U.S.-Mexico Border to Assist with Immigration Surge

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA is preparing to deploy up to 400 of its personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist with the escalation of Central American migrants trying to enter the U.S.

The largest union representing the TSA, the American Federation of Government Employees TSA Council, questioned the move, saying it may “undermine aviation security” at airports during one of the busiest time of the year for air travel.

“The timing of this deployment could not be worse, as we are preparing for yet another busy summer travel season,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the union, said in a statement.

The deployment is part of a Homeland Security effort to send more personnel to the border as immigration surges.

It’s not yet clear what the TSA employees will do at the border, but they won’t have direct contact with immigrants, according to NBC News.

A TSA officials told NBC News that it would not deploy any of its frontline personnel who deal with travelers at airports.

The TSA has identified some personnel, which includes lawyers, air marshals and immigration specialists.

In March an April, more than 100,000 undocumented immigrants crossed the border into the U.S.

Airports Brace for Safety Issues As TSA Employees React to Government Shutdown

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A government shutdown over border safety could soon cause serious security problems at airports, where more than 51,000 TSA employees began working without pay Friday.

The TSA reported a 55% increase in employees calling in sick Thursday, and some airport screeners have already quit, the agency’s spokesman Michael Bilello told Bloomberg.

The TSA is responding to staff shortages by planning to close some security checkpoints at airports nationwide beginning this weekend.

Airport authorities are expressing fear that the shutdown could soon worsen security screening.

“We’re very concerned that the current situation with government employees going without pay is unsustainable in the long term,” Christopher Bidwell, a senior vice president at the Airports Council International-North America in Washington, told Bloomberg. “We certainly have to be mindful of the potential for cascading operational impacts.”

Airports also are bracing for flight delays.

The group that represents more than 10,000 air-traffic controllers, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, filed a lawsuit Friday, alleging it’s against the law to force employees to work without pay.

Trump’s Shutdown Endangers Airport Safety As Unpaid TSA Screeners Call in Sick, Quit

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump said the government shutdown could last months or even years because border protection is so important.

But what about airline safety?

In the first weeks of the shutdown, protection at U.S. airport has been compromised because TSA screeners are calling in sick – and some are quitting – because they can’t afford to work without a paycheck.

The agency’s 51,739 screeners are required to work during the shutdown because their services – screening bags and passengers for weapons – are considered essential.

But with no assurances of getting paid until the shutdown is over, a growing number of screeners have called in sick.

Airports are increasingly concerned about airport safety and disruptions.

“We’re concerned that a prolonged government shutdown could potentially impact security and wait times at airports,” Christopher Bidwell, a senior vice president for security at the Airports Council International-North America in Washington, told Time.

During previous government shutdowns, Congress made sure that federal employees who are forced to work are paid. That has happened yet.

Under normal circumstances, screeners would get paid this Friday. If they don’t, airports are bracing for long wait times, disturbances and potential threats to airlines and passengers.