Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why is ID Important for Security?

Last week we announced on our Web site a plan to begin REQUIRING ID from travelers on June 21st. This plan includes enabling our officers to refuse entry into the area beyond the security checkpoint to anyone who does not cooperate with us to establish his or her identity. The exclusive reason to do this is to ensure people are who they say they are and are not gaming the system by using a boarding pass with a fake name; a well-known endeavor of professionals and college kids alike that could potentially circumvent the no-fly list.

Does that mean that if you lose your wallet in the cab on the way to the airport you’re going to have to walk home?

Absolutely not…this rule is solely focused on the passenger who simply will not provide ID or help us establish their identity.

So for the security experts in the crowd (and you know you’re out there) you might be asking yourself a few questions, like:

So if a terrorist shows up and says his dog ate his ID, you’ll just let him go?

The answer is a simple and clear NO. Under today’s rules, you show up, say you lost your ID, get a quick pat down, have your bag searched and you’re on your way. One enterprising fellow has even advocated it as a quicker way through security in the past.

Starting June 21, that person could be subjected to a range of options, including interviews with behavior detection officers and local and/or federal law enforcement, enhanced pat-downs or other options. By increasing our options, people with bad intentions don’t know what exactly to plan against, have to beat multiple layers at the checkpoint and need to be ready to face any number of obstacles to their plans.

Why would a terrorist show up and say he has no ID when he can just show a fake and breeze right through?

Ah hah, that’s where layers of security really come into play. TSA has deployed thousands of highly-trained document checkers to identify fake IDs. We’ve caught everything from Spring Breakers with terrible IDs to fraudulent passports. Our officers are very adept at finding fake documents and work closely with behavior detection officers on a daily basis. The old story of the airline contractor not even looking up at a person while checking IDs is long in the rear view mirror.

This is just an assault on my personal freedoms and security theater.

The only reason we’re doing this is to make sure people are who they say they are and not someone who is a known threat to aviation.

Also, our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities work tirelessly to identify potential threats to aircraft. Enhancing our ID requirements further enables TSA security officers to ensure that individuals are who they say they are when they enter the security checkpoint and not individuals who may pose a threat.

And for all the legal eagles out there, it is my constitutional right to fly without ID.

Under the law that created TSA, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, the TSA administrator is responsible for overseeing aviation security (P.L. 107-71) and has the authority to establish security procedures at airports (49 C.F.R. § 1540.107). Passengers who fail to comply with security procedures may be prohibited from entering the secure area of airports to catch their flight (49 C.F.R. § 1540.105(a)(2). Additionally, in Gilmore v. Gonzalez, 435 F.3d 1125 (9th Cir. 2006) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the plaintiff’s constitutional challenges to a passenger identification policy.

This initiative is simply a way for us to better enforce the no-fly list and ensure the safety of the traveling public. No secret motives, no hidden agendas, just a security enhancement aimed at people trying to game the system.

For more information, go here.


EOS Blog Team

Update: 6/14/08

Just a quick note… Our ticket checkers found a fraudulent ID at JFK. Just thought some of you might be interested.

At New York Kennedy Airport (JFK) on Thursday, June 12, a passenger was interviewed by police after attempting to enter into a security checkpoint with a fraudulent ID.

A TSA Travel Document Checker noticed a passenger trying to use a fraudulent New York driver’s license and notified the Port Authority Police Department who came and interviewed her. The Port Authority Police Department released the passenger after issuing a Summons to Appear.

Travel Document Checkers are TSA officers that are specially trained to detect fraudulent IDs and boarding passes to help keep our airports safe and secure.


EoS Blog Team