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Nieuwe Security Procedures

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TSA to unveil new security procedures

From Jeanne Meserve

Friday, December 2, 2005 Posted: 0919 GMT

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Transportation Security Administration will announce changes in screening procedures at the nation's commercial airports Friday, allowing passengers to take small scissors and tools on planes but increasing random passenger checks and the thoroughness of pat-down searches.

TSA officials briefed managers of the nation's airports on the changes Thursday in a conference call. CNN obtained a summary of the briefing.

Under the new procedures, which are designed to give screeners more time to focus on detecting explosives, scissors less than 4 inches long and tools less than 7 inches long will now be allowed on aircraft. However, knives and some tools will still be prohibited, including crowbars, drills, hammers and saws.

In addition, pat-down procedures at checkpoints will be refined. Currently, screeners pat down passengers' backs and abdomens. Under the new system, screeners will also pat down arms and legs below the mid-thigh, although they will be given discretion to forgo those searches in cases where bare skin or tight clothing make it obvious nothing is being concealed.

The TSA also told airport managers the level of random screening will be increased, with procedures varying from airport to airport to keep any would-be terrorists off guard.

Passengers won't be selected for random searches based on their race, age, religion or nationality, according to the TSA. However, screeners will be given some discretion to forgo searches based on age and gender, so that passengers aren't being patted down by screeners of the opposite sex.

TSA officials told the managers they are currently assessing data from three pilot studies on the impact the new procedures might have on airport operations, but they do not anticipate any increase in waiting times.

About 18,000 airport screeners have received more training in explosive detection, according to the TSA.

Some members of Congress are expressing reservations about the changes.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas, said allowing sharp-pointed scissors and other objects on planes "could undermine the progress we have made in securing our skies since the 9/11 attacks."

"The change in policy would do little to alleviate screening delays, since screeners would need to stop the conveyor belt to check whether the scissors in question fell within the new limits," she said in a letter to TSA Director Kip Hawley urging him to drop the idea.

Noting that the 9/11 hijackers used boxcutters to commandeer aircraft, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, said the TSA "should not make it easier for future Mohammed Attas to arm themselves with razor sharp objects and bring down a passenger plane."

"Flight attendants and passengers should not be put in a situation where .. a sharp scissors can be taken apart and used as a weapon at the throat of flight attendants and passengers," Markey said.

#1 - 02-12-2005, 12:49 uur


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