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TSA to Launch 'Trusted Traveler' Program

Illustration by Amy Ning

The head of the Transportation Security Administration told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that the organization will launch at least a trial “trusted traveler” program for some passengers later this year.

The action comes just three months after recommendation of the program as part of the U.S. Travel Association’s report on aviation security. The program, likely to meet some controversy, would purportedly speed up security checkpoints in airports by means of certain passengers permitting the government to have greater personal information about them.

TSA administrator John Pistole told the committee, “We're working with airlines, U.S. carriers initially, to say for those who are willing to share information about themselves, what can we gain from that that would help us make informed judgments" about passenger security.

Pistole did not say when the TSA would launch the trial program, but the U.S. Travel Association supported the move and says a program where travelers can “opt in and voluntarily provide background information to qualify for expedited screening” is similar to a program used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Roger Dow, president and CEO of the association said the program could begin in the fall. "U.S. travelers will greatly appreciate TSA's responsiveness on this issue," he said.

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