Aviation Security: Progress Made to Set Up Program Using Private-Sector Airport Screeners, but More Work Remains Page: 6 of 55
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airports. Also, during the 16 months since the SPP was initiated, two
additional airports have applied to the SPP. TSA approved one of these
airport's application and in December 2005 awarded a contract to a private
screening contractor-a contractor currently providing screening services
at two of the five pilot program airports-that enabled this airport to
transition from federal to private screeners in February 2006. The other
airport withdrew its application.
In November 2004, we reported on TSA's preliminary efforts to allow
airports to apply to use private screening contractors to perform
passenger and checked baggage screening services through the SPP, and
how private screening contractors would compete to provide those
services. We reported that key stakeholders we interviewed-private
screening contractors, airport operators, and aviation associations-were
concerned about several aspects of the program. Specifically, stakeholders
expressed concerns about liability protection-whether and to what
extent private screening contractors and airports would be liable in the
event that threat objects or weapons were not detected at passenger
screening checkpoints or in checked baggage, leading to a terrorist
incident. At issue was whether the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering
Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (the SAFETY Act) would offer private
screening contractors and airport operators federal protection from
potential lawsuits arising out of or resulting from aviation-related acts of
terrorism.2 These stakeholders also were concerned about the degree of
management control they would have over various aspects of screening
services, including how roles and responsibilities would be divided among
Federal Security Directors (FSD)3 and their staff and private screening
contractor managers and staff.4
In this report, we address (1) TSA's and the Department of Homeland
Security's efforts to determine whether and how liability protection will be
provided to private screening contractors and airports that participate in
the SPP, and actions taken on other stakeholder concerns related to
participation in the SPP; (2) how TSA has determined it will achieve cost-
savings goals for screener operations through the SPP, specifically with
2Pub. L. No. 107-296, 861-65, 116 Stat. 2135, 2238-42 (2002); 6 C.F.R. 25.1-25.9 (2005).
3FSDs are the ranking TSA authorities responsible for leading and coordinating TSA
security activities at the nation's more than 440 commercial airports.
4GAO, Aviation Security: Preliminary Observations on TSA's Progress to Allow Airports
to Use Private Passenger and Baggage Screening Services, GAO-05-126 (Washington, D.C.:
Nov. 19, 2004).
GAO-06-166 Aviation Security
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Aviation Security: Progress Made to Set Up Program Using Private-Sector Airport Screeners, but More Work Remains, report, March 31, 2006; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295707/m1/6/: accessed March 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.