Companies wanting to take over passenger screening at U.S. airports from the Transportation Security Administration will have an easier time getting contracts under Senate legislation.
The U.S. agency must allow airports to switch to private companies for screeners unless it can show the move wouldn’t be cost-effective and would be detrimental to security, according to the legislation, which the Senate cleared today for President Barack Obama’s signature. The House approved the measure Feb. 3.
“They’ve been trying to force the door open for several years,” Jeff Price, a Denver-based consultant who has written a textbook on aviation security, said of U.S. lawmakers. “It reverses the burden of proof. It is definitely trying to checkmate the TSA.”
TSA Administrator John Pistole raised the ire of House transportation committee Chairman John Mica, a Florida Republican, last year by freezing the number of airports using non-government screeners. Mica, who proposed the House version of the FAA bill, has said the TSA should get out of passenger screening to focus on intelligence gathering and security oversight.