Passenger Screening at Airports to be Reviewed by DHS

In an interview with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff on March 3, 2008 stated that the Department of Homeland Security will be undertaking a review of passenger screening at airports to explore ways to ease hassles and possibly paying more attention to screening private jets from overseas. Mr. Chertoff stated, "We are going to take a look at the whole system of screening at the airport in the next month and we're going to see if we can maybe make a couple of significant changes to remove some of the burden. We may be able to make some significant changes to the system that may actually be welcomed by the travelers." 

USA Today reported that the review of passenger screening procedures will occur in the next 30 to 45 days. Chertoff has directed Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) chief Kip Hawley to "look at the system" of passenger screening and determine "are there things we can do to reduce hassle." USA Today reports that Chertoff stated that "some screening requirements may be unnecessary because of improvements in aviation security, such as hardened cockpit doors, a growing number of pilots carrying handguns and the deployment of hundreds of TSA screeners who scan airport crowds looking for people who are acting oddly and may pose a security threat."

To protect the U.S. from a private jet carrying a nuclear bomb, a dirty bomb, or biological weapons into the country, it was reported that DHS will issue new rules that will require crews and passengers to provide their names, birth dates, and other personal information one hour before taking off for the U.S. This time will allow authorities to check names against terrorist watch lists. Chertoff stated that the next step could be to require that private planes be scanned and passengers be screened and processed through Customs overseas.