Yesterday, Senator John Kerry called for an investigation into the status of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight Program, which is being designed to pre-screen airline passengers against a watch list, preventing suspicious passengers from boarding aircraft in the United States.
“In our post 9/11 world, keeping air travel safe is a top priority in keeping our homeland safe,” Senator Kerry said. “The federal government shouldn’t rely on the airlines to run a terrorist screening program. It’s imperative that Secure Flight is implemented in the most effective way possible, while ensuring the constitutional rights of our passengers are protected. I look forward to reading the report and supporting the TSA in accomplishing this goal.”
The most recent 9/11 Commission Report Card gave the government an “F” for failing to develop a comprehensive government run passenger pre-screening program. TSA’s screening program, Secure Flight, has yet to be implemented, leaving individual airlines responsible for passenger screening against only a partial list. Kerry’s amendment will call for the GAO to complete a full report of the status of the program and present it to Congress within 90 days.
Senator Kerry will offer the amendment in the Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow. It is expected to be accepted unanimously.
Specifically, Senator Kerry’s amendment calls for the GAO to:
- describe the progress made in the TSA’s implementation of the Secure Flight program,
- describe the effectiveness of the current appeals process for passengers wrongly assigned to the no-fly and terrorist watch lists,
- describe the TSA’s plan to protect private passenger information,
- and provide a realistic determination of when the system will be completed.