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TSA defends Pre Check program procedures

TSA checkpoint

A blog post on the Huffington Post news site questioning The Transportation Security Administration’s handling of its Pre Check passenger pre-approval program drew a strong response from the agency on Nov. 28.

In a Nov. 27 post, a Huffington Post blogger noted that on a recent trip he had been “invited” to go through the Pre Check line at an airport security checkpoint on a recent trip, even though he said he wasn’t enrolled in the program. He said he was allowed to keep his shoes and belt on and his laptop computer remained in its case as he “breezed through” security. The procedure, he said, opened up many security concerns. He also said that the program benefitted travelers who could pay to participate in the program.

In a Nov. 28 post on the TSA’s blog site, “Blogger Bob” Burns defended the practice and clarified why the writer may have been asked to go through the pre-approval line.

Burns said being randomly chosen by TSA agents to be screened through the Pre Check line isn’t a mistake. “Not all TSA Pre Check members are affiliated with Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS,” he explained. “Many were selected by participating airlines based upon TSA established criteria and opted-in through the airline’s system at no charge,” he said, adding that there are many ways to “opt-in” to the program. “Sometimes the opt-in is as simple as clicking ‘yes’ on a pop-up box when you sign into your mileage account. The airlines have included several different methods (mail, e-mail, pop-up boxes when you login, account profile update alerts) to opt-in,” he said.

Burns said that while some travelers opt to pay to participate in Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS, they don’t to participate in Pre Check and many members have been selected by airlines and at no charge.