TSA: Put More Guards With Guns At Airport Security Checkpoints

The TSA is keen to put armed guards at airport security checkpoints during peak travel hours, according to a review released Wednesday. The review examined ways to prevent security breaches like the deadly shooting at LAX that killed a TSA officer last November. The agency also plans to put its employees through more active-shooter training.

The agency decided against creating a new class of TSA agents that would carry guns, which the TSA officers' union had suggested doing. Ultimately, the report decided it was a bad idea:

As to creating a new law enforcement cadre or deputizing TSOs to carry out law enforcement functions, the [TSA] does not believe that adding more guns to the checkpoint by arming TSOs is the solution and that it raises jurisdictional and cost issues.

Instead, the agency is putting more law enforcement officers at the checkpoints during peak times. The idea is to create "a more visible law enforcement presence" that would deter potential shooters, as well as a quicker response time.

Figuring out where officers should be stationed in airports has been a key debate since the shooting, particularly at LAX, where officers patrol throughout the airport, rather than stationing themselves at checkpoints.

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The report recommended continuing to monitor travelers' behavior at the checkpoints, and making decisions about who may be suspicious based on those observations. So-called Behavior Detection Officers will keep "identifying potentially high-risk individuals based on behavioral indicators," the report said.

That practice that came under fire this week in a New York Times article, which noted there was no scientific evidence it worked.

... Critics say there’s no evidence that these efforts have stopped a single terrorist or accomplished much beyond inconveniencing tens of thousands of passengers a year. The T.S.A. seems to have fallen for a classic form of self-deception: the belief that you can read liars’ minds by watching their bodies.