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March 8, 2013
Re "TSA to allow small knives on passenger planes," March 6 I wish to congratulate the highly intelligent folks who make decisions at the Transportation Security Administration pertaining to what passengers may carry on board airplanes. Allowing us to have small knives, golf clubs, pool cues and hockey sticks on board will definitely reduce the time we spend in the security lines, not to mention the added safety we passengers will feel. But be warned, all you thirsty people trying to smuggle a bottle of water through security: TSA agents will have more time to catch you. Dada Vaswani Hacienda Heights ALSO: Letters: What ails the state GOP Letters: Medicare works, so why change?
April 24, 2014 | By Catharine M. Hamm, Los Angeles Times travel editor
How much is it worth to you to get through airport security faster? Most people would pay about $50, according to a Harris Poll released Thursday. Unfortunately for those folks, the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program, which allows expedited screening for prequalified passengers, charges $85 for five years of "fast pass" screening. The misapprehension may stem from this finding: 41% of respondents said they had never heard of PreCheck. Those are among the notions about the TSA and its procedures and programs that the survey of 2,234 adults revealed.
June 24, 2012
Re "TSA full-body scanners pose little risk, study says," June 11 The Times reported on an academic, peer-reviewed paper we coauthored. We'd like to clarify some points. Our study did not quantify the risk of backscatter security scans. The study estimated, using computer simulations, the radiation dose to individual organs. As stated in the paper, "Access to the machines for measurements and assessments is limited. " Therefore our models were based on measurements from a Johns Hopkins University study commissioned by the Transportation Security Administration, a limitation prominently discussed in our paper.
April 24, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
Americans are split on whether airport screening lines make air travel safer. But at the same time, a majority of American adults worry that faster screening lines for travelers who submit background information might jeopardize airline safety. The latest measure of the public's attitute on airport security came from a poll of 2,234 adults in the U.S. by the Harris Poll. It comes only days after a teenage boy slipped undetected onto a Maui-bound jet at Mineta San Jose International Airport.
August 24, 2012 | By Catharine M. Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
Sure, you can get a group of people riled up talking politics, but if you want to set off real fireworks, mention the TSA. That'll get 'em going. And perhaps partly because of that, the Transportation Security Administration has formed a passenger advocacy group. It's a subcommittee of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee. After an initial meeting earlier this month, it meets again Friday. This may sound very bureaucratic, but a couple of the advocacy group's members don't.
June 2, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
The "nude scanners" are gone. The full-body scanners that used X-rays to create what looks like a nude image of passengers have been packed away and removed from airports across the country. The 250 or so machines were removed about two weeks ago, before the June 1 deadline set by Congress. But privacy advocates aren't satisfied, noting that the Transportation Security Administration is still using full-body scanners that employ a different technology. "They've never made a case that these scanners are better than using metal detectors or swabs to detect the use of explosives," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research center that sued the TSA in 2010 over the use of all full-body scanners.
January 20, 2010 | Times staff and wire reports
Erroll G. Southers, assistant chief of airport police in Los Angeles, said Wednesday morning that he is withdrawing his nomination to lead the Transportation Security Administration. President Obama tapped Southers in September to lead the federal agency that helps protect airline passengers from terrorist attacks. In a statement, Southers said he is withdrawing because his nomination has become a lightning rod for those with a political agenda. His confirmation has been blocked by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who says he is worried Southers would allow TSA employees to join a labor union.
June 6, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Under pressure from lawmakers and flight attendants, the Transportation Security Administration said it would indefinitely prohibit passengers from carrying small pocket knives on planes - a ban that began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The decision is a dramatic reversal for TSA chief John Pistole. Two months ago he decided to lift the ban, saying the move would enable airport security officers to focus on bigger threats, such as explosives. Just days before the TSA planned to lift the ban April 25, Pistole said he was temporarily putting off the policy change to consider the comments and concerns of a security panel made up of pilots, flight attendants and other airline workers.
February 9, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
A former Transportation Security Administration screener who dished dirt about the agency in a recent story was lying or describing long-abandoned practices. That was the agency's response to a story in Politico by former TSA agent Jason Edward Harrington. In the piece, Harrington described TSA agents at Chicago O'Hare International Airport who struggled with low morale, targeted travelers from specific countries for pat-down searches and poked fun at images created by full-body scanners.
January 20, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
The Transportation Security Administration rolled out PreCheck, the expedited security program for pre-screened fliers, this week at Los Angeles International Airport, the sixth airport in the nation to participate in the pilot program since it started last year. In an announcement Wednesday, the TSA said the program at LAX so far is available only to American Airlines frequent fliers at two checkpoints in Terminal 4. Here's how it works: Fliers who are U.S. citizens provide personal information and undergo background checks to qualify for traveler programs approved by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, such as Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS.
April 24, 2014 | By Ryan Menezes
The family of a Transportation Security Administration officer slain in a shooting at LAX has filed a claim against the city, alleging the wrongful death of Gerardo Hernandez and seeking damages in excess of $25 million. The claim, filed April 16, can be a precursor to a civil lawsuit. The family alleges in the claim that city agencies failed to protect Los Angeles International Airport. The claim says city employees "failed in the performance of their duties which created a dangerous lapse in security" that led to Hernandez's death and delayed medical care to the injured.
April 23, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
A South Bay woman who sued the Transportation Security Administration over the way agents treated her for trying to bring breast milk on a plane said she won a settlement. The woman, Stacey Armato, said the TSA agreed to pay her $75,000 to settle the suit, as well as retraining all screeners to better treat travelers carrying breast milk. "That's a big deal," she said in an interview. "I expect a lot of changes. " TSA officials declined to comment, saying the settlement has not been finalized and the agency still has 30 days to request a dismissal.
April 14, 2014 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Passover begins at sundown Monday (today) and the Transportation Security Administration is assuring fliers that its officers will be sensitive to carry-on items associated with the Jewish holiday. "Some travelers will be carrying boxes of matzo, which are consumed as part of the Passover ritual," the agency said in an April 2 statement . "Matzo can be machine or handmade and are typically very thin and fragile, and break easily. Passengers traveling with religious items, including handmade matzo, may request a hand inspection by the TSO [transportation security officer]
April 14, 2014 | By Catharine Hamm
Question: On March 7, I flew to Sacramento from L.A. for an overnight trip. I packed light - just a dress, belt, shoes, sweats, nightshirt, a bag of toiletries and my iPad. When I arrived at my hotel and opened my bag, there was a notice that the Transportation Security Administration had gone through my luggage. When I was getting dressed, I noticed my belt was missing. I had carefully packed it in the see-through zipper compartment of my suitcase, as I didn't want it to fall out. It was my favorite belt, old, vintage, worn and funky.
March 28, 2014 | By Kate Mather and Dan Weikel
The debate over the presence of armed police officers at airport passenger screening areas continued Friday as lawmakers met at Los Angeles International Airport to take a fresh look at November's deadly shooting and the steps airport and federal officials have taken in its wake. Members of the House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Transportation Security heard testimony Friday about the Nov. 1, 2013, shooting, which raised questions about airport security and emergency response.
March 28, 2014 | By Dan Weikel
The lessons learned from the emergency response to last November's deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport will be reviewed Friday during a congressional committee hearing at LAX. The shooting raised immediate questions about airport security and emergency reponse, prompting in-depth evaluations of communication systems, crowd-control measures, evacuation procedures and when paramedics may enter active shooter situations. This week, a Transportation Security Administration report recommended -- among many things -- an increased police presence at ticket counters and screening areas.
July 14, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
In the foreseeable future, fliers can expect to be “randomized” by the Transportation Security Administration. That means an electronic device called a randomizer would randomly direct travelers to different screening lines. One reason the devices are needed, federal officials said, is so TSA officers can't be accused of profiling passengers when they direct some fliers to a line for regular screening and others to a line for a faster, less intrusive search. In many airports, the TSA operates special screening lines where travelers don't have to remove their shoes, belts and jackets or take laptops and liquids out of carry-on bags.
November 25, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
This month, federal security officers stopped a traveler at the Oakland International Airport because of an unusual wristwatch he was wearing. When word got out, critics of the Transportation Security Administration blasted the agency, calling the incident an example of the TSA overreacting. In hopes of stifling the uproar, the TSA released a photo of the watch last week. This is no ordinary timepiece. It includes a toggle switch, wires and what look like tiny fuses attached to the wristband.
March 28, 2014 | By Dan Weikel and Kate Mather
How best to station armed law enforcement officers at airports was the focus of a congressional hearing at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, one of several reviews of the emergency response to November's shooting rampage that left a federal security agent dead. During a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security, contrasting views were presented in the aftermath of a decision at LAX early last year to shift police from fixed positions at passenger screening areas to roving patrols.
March 26, 2014 | By Kate Mather
The union representing 45,000 Transportation Security Administration officers repeated its calls to arm officers Wednesday, saying the agency's actions after November's deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport "does not go far enough. " J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said although he "appreciates" the TSA's recommendation to put more police officers at its airport checkpoints, an armed, uniformed TSA unit was needed "to provide the best possibly security.
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