Your next trip to the airport may be more hassle free… but is it compromising your security?

Have you been to an airport recently? If so, were you able to bypass the hassle of the TSA screening by whizzing through the PreCheck line?

TheBlaze Radio Network’s Doc Thompson and Skip LaCombe were filling in for Glenn again this morning, and they shared an interesting travel story. In the course of the last month, Doc and Skip have traveled three times – twice to Dallas, Texas and once to Nashville, Tennessee – from Dayton, Ohio. During all three trips, either Doc, Skip, or both were randomly selected to head to the PreCheck lane even though they did not pay the fee or have the background check required to obtain PreCheck status.

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So what’s the deal?

Post 9/11, we have been indoctrinated to believe that taking off our shoes, belt, and jacket, removing our laptops and liquids from carryon bags, and getting an invasive pat down or body scan was the only way to keep this country safe.

We have also come to understand that such a process leads to massive lines and delays. And now it seems as though the TSA is looking to circumvent that problem by randomly assigning some travelers to the PreCheck lane.

In May, Bloomberg Businessweek corroborated the report:

When you want to get through airport security faster, the screeners have an app for that. To clear waiting lines more quickly, the Transportation Security Administration uses a “randomizer” app at about 100 U.S. airports to sort which travelers get directed into the PreCheck lane, the one where you don’t need to doff your shoes, belt and jacket.

The app is part of a risk-based approach called “managed inclusion” that the TSA began using last year and includes behavior-detection officers or canines on duty to smell for traces of explosives…

The TSA uses software to randomly choose whether travelers in the PreCheck lanes go left or right, making it harder for potential terrorists to detect any patterns. The randomization also helps to prevent accusations of racial or other profiling. The program is used at peak travel times when queues increase, such as early morning and evening.

While getting to keep your shoes on and quicker wait times at the airport is certainly welcomed news for travelers, what does it really mean? If the TSA can now confidently say randomizing the security process will continue to keep people safe, why has this not been the policy from the beginning?

“It is the inconsistency that makes no sense,” Skip said.

“I think we are seeing some sort of shift. I don’t know why yet, but in the next couple of months, I think it will be unveiled. I don’t know if they are trying to get rid of the Rapiscans, if they are trying to speed it up,” Doc concluded. “But if they start changing the policies and procedures, all of the crap that we have gone through and put up for the last five, eight, 10 years is just that. It’s BS. They sold us a bunch of BS, and we all bought it.”

Front page image courtesy of the AP

  • Anti Fabian

    Well of course it is BS. It has all always been BS. But what could any average citizen do about it? Write to our congressman? My congressman tried to do something about it but did not get anywhere. The TSA is not about security, no. Not really. That is just the rouge. TSA is actually about controlling the masses. It is easier to control people when you can control their ability to travel and move about the country. It is about boosting the bottom line of the communist leadership workers unions, as now there is more money being pumped into those coffers through the TSA. It is also about lining the pockets of the manufacturers of the machines the TSA uses. If it was really about security from potential terrorists, all that would be needed is a few armed National Guardsmen and a couple trained German Shepherds. That would prevent back up of security lines, and it would eliminate the possibility of racial profiling and would provide a definite real, not contrived, but a real sense of security. That is how the Israeli’s do it, and it works great for them! It would work great for us. Anything else is just what it is. BS. (that stands for Basic Sociology.) ;-D

  • Anonymous

    I get to go thru the Pre Check line because I have Global Entry status. To get that, you need to have an interview and background check with the TSA at the airport they designate. Then they will or will not issue you a Global Entry card in which you can bypass the long Passport control line (but have to do it at the kiosks) when you enter the US. It took at least 3-4 weeks to get my card. I have never seen anyone just get ‘let thru’ randomly. At least the airport I go out of, they will look at your boarding pass and determine whether you have Pre check status or not. If they are just letting people thru without vetting them, then we have a problem. But normally, it’s a very long and hopefully, well investigated process to get a Global Entry card.

  • Wes

    So what happens when the randomly select the guy who is the terrorist they are looking for? This seems absurd…. the lengths they go to in order to avoid being called out on racial profiling and what not. This random bypass of security is to appease the masses by relieving the wait time in lines, but It is all security theater in the end.

  • GW

    I hope that this is just a natural change known in industry as constant improvement. “If you are not improving the process efficiency, it naturally get less efficient”. Any improvement in this mess is welcome to me.

  • Anonymous

    On the last flight my wife and I took to Seattle and back, we were directed to the ‘express line’. Going was no big deal; but leaving from Seattle and not using the ‘pre checked’ line would have meant a long wait in the TSA line.

  • Chris B

    I have Global Entry and get PreCheck by virtue of that. Dayton is a TSA training center I believe and I think they pilot new programs there, so maybe that is what you are running into. Somethings that bug me with PreCheck:

    I have metal implants and I carry two laptops and here is some of what I experience in terms of inconsistency. Keep in mind these are all in the PreCheck Line.

    1, Some airports I have to take one laptop, some both, and some none.
    2. Some airports tell me I am not eligible to go through because of the implants
    3. Some airports have the Rapiscan and some dont
    4. Where Rapiscan is present I get to go through….Sometimes my shoes have to come off sometimes they don’t
    5. Where Rapiscan is not present I will encounter #2 above or I get to go through and still get a pat down.

    So why do I still use PreCheck you may wonder. Its still a time savings to not have to take all of the stuff out of my bag.

    I love the way airport security is done in Germany. At the check-in for baggage you get asked a series of security questions.

    When you go through security, there’s no taking shoes off. When I set off the metal detector with my hip and knee implants they don’t pat me down, they have me step aside and they wand me.

    Once I am through security, I could be approached by any random airport worker, a food vendor, a flight attendant, the janitor, you name it and get asked a set of security questions. I would assume as they enter your responses into their tablet they are scanning for inconsistent answers.

    Finally at the gate, I could be randomly picked to go through their Rapiscan or I may be able to board.

    The lines move very quick and I think its probably more secure because even after going through the TSA style checkpoint you could still get randomly approached one or more times and asked security questions. You can also be randomly be selected for the body scanner as you are boarding the plane. Its all only midly intrusive in comparison and relatively quick if you are randomly selected at any of these post checkpoint scenarios.

  • Johnathan Read

    Will it take a terrorist bomb on a national flight to increase security ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 aemoreira81

    If you live near the Canadian border, there is already a system called NEXUS to this end. But unlike land travel, air travel involves flying at altitudes that would not normally support human life. I would be apprehensive with such a system.

  • http://truthofg.blogspot.com/ Connor Kenway

    This what happens when you let fear run the day.

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  • Anonymous

    On a recent trip to see our daughter, my wife and I both were selected for Pre-Check on the outgoing flight, but on the return flight, only she was selected. I was given an ordinary boarding pass that did not have the “TSA Pre-Check” designation. I thought TSA Pre-Check would help me avoid pat-downs, but in my case with metal implants in both knees from total knee replacement surgery, I have to request the scanner or risk the pat-down. Why don’t they go back to the wands like they used to have instead of doing the pat-downs? I wish they would give up this nonsense about not profiling because I’d prefer anything to the pat-downs.

  • Anonymous

    We complain when we perceive there is to much “security”..now we complain when there is a perception of not enough. ..

  • zemla

    Neato how that works huh?

  • zemla

    Pat downs let you know your place

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. The ratings mongers cherry pick the “daily cause” just to stir the pot!

  • Gigi

    Don’t ever go tru the scanners! I’m sorry I don’t have the time now to go back and get the details for you, but, trust me on this.
    Back when the scanners first came out, there were several professors at prestigious medical Universities that explained why they were unsafe.
    Basically, the x-rays target your skin, that’s how they get a “view” of you. You are receiving radiation to your skin. If you have skin cancer, never go tru these scanners!
    It can also affect the cornea of the eyes since this is exposed as well to the radiation.
    Children and the elderly and pregnant women should never go tru them!
    Remember, only government agencies were the ones that deemed them safe. Do you trust their judgement? No independent study was ever made.
    I always ask for a pat down and the people at TSA have always been very pleasant and professional about it.

  • deb evans

    Prechecked should only be available for people who have been security screened before. I have never failed to set of a metal detector in any airport in the US. I have no metal implants but bing there is always a wand check. I go through one in any other country and no alarms go off. At least with the new scanners, your entire body does not show in the picture. I had several TSA officers make me stand in one of the old types for 4 scans while they sat and made fun of my fat body. I felt like I had been raped. I complained and absolutely nothing was done. They all denied it and, even though at least two passengers confirmed it, that was the end of it. TSA agents seem to see their authority in some cases as a way to humiliate and bully passengers.

  • Donna

    I am a X TSA Supervisor I can tell you it is all a window dressing . The agents that do the screenings were bank tellers ,cashiers etc…If the U.S. Govt wanted to get serious about airport screening they would hire EL AL.

  • Ronda Astardly

    The principles of morality and liberty serve as a basis for the rules of law intended to prevent unequal treatment and plunder by the state.

  • Anonymous

    And that is how glenn beck and the media at large make money :) come up with the headline of the day and make it much bigger than it is. Then bring in “controversy” and extremist guest speakers.

    Boom ratings through the roof

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  • Phillip Wilson (Zerocks Globe)

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