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A few weeks ago I wrote a story about the TSA cutting back on letting “low-risk” passengers into the TSA Precheck line through their managed inclusion program, citing growing numbers in the program at large.
But as a few readers pointed out, the reductions were fairly limited. While frequent flyers would be seeing fewer instances of TSA Precheck on their boarding passes, other low-risk members of the general traveling public would still be filtered through the line, clogging up the process for experienced, regular Precheck passengers.
While I’d still consider the reductions in the managed inclusion program a small victory for frequent travelers, lawmakers want further change. Instead of citing long security lines though, their beef is with the quality of the program.
“After a recent incident and numerous reports, I do not have confidence that TSA’s use of random or case-by-case, on-site security risk assessments to identify passengers for expedited screening is keeping us secure,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement reported by The Hill.
Mr. Thompson and several other bipartisan lawmakers have proposed legislation that will restrict the TSA’s Precheck program solely to members who have applied for and have been given access to expedited screening, ensuring that passengers going through the line have been thoroughly vetted.
In a world where one error at the security checkpoint can have catastrophic consequences, the lawmakers’ concern may be justified. In 2014, the TSA managed to include a convicted felon in the random expedited screening program, setting off this spiral of events through congress. If other miscreants are getting through the expedited screening, the whole purpose of Precheck is kind of moot.
Provided the bill gets support, travelers authentically enrolled in Precheck may have shorter airport security lines on the horizon. For everyone else, the free ride may soon be over.