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The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently released a video claiming to provide an inside look at airport security tactics – how the agency protects travelers – usually a subject government agencies are shy about discussing.
TSA is promoting “its 20 integrated components, that we call the ‘Layers of Security,’ working together to keep you secure.
From intelligence and various law enforcement personnel to crew vetting and behavior detection, TSA is using “both seen and unseen” resources that the agency says “work like a very complex combination safe designed to keep our adversaries at bay and our transportation systems safe,” according to abc7chicago.com.
The move comes almost two years after a report to Congress by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General detailed a covert audit of U.S. airports that found layers of security were “simply missing.”
The undercover investigation exposed gaps in Transportation Security Administration procedures that the agency said it was repairing.
The new TSA video shows federal employees conducting pre-boarding name checks on passengers to see if they are known or suspected terrorists. It also shows TSA canine teams on airport patrols – one of the agencies most-favored terror prevention tactics, and it shows the elite air marshal service and discusses the use of armed pilots and crew members trained in self-defense.
The final layer of protection according to TSA relies on the protectees themselves: the travelers who are encouraged to report troublesome things that they see.
“TSA is really trying to soften their image, create a sense of pride, that what they do is something that we as a country should be pleased with,” said DePaul University transportation professor Joe Schwieterman. “So much criticism flows through TSA because people look at checkpoints at the airport and say it’s ineffective. I think what they’re trying to say is that we have a whole menu of strategies, a lot of things happening behind the scenes, you should give us the benefit of the doubt that we’re doing a lot of things that we don’t publicize.”
TSA officials say the layers of security have helped to reduce traveler screening and wait times at U.S. airports.
TSA spokesperson Michael McCarthy told the I-Team that the new video doesn’t give away state secrets. “No specifics about security procedures or capabilities are revealed by mentioning the existence of the various layers – most of which are plainly apparent to the naked eye”.