TSA To Expand Its "Prove You're Not A Terrorist" Program

Starting this fall, the PreCheck program -- which basically expedites participating members through airport security -- will be open to any US citizen who's willing to pay $85 and endure a detailed application process.

What's the Latest Development?

Last week, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) announced that this fall it would expand its PreCheck program to any US citizen who is willing to follow a somewhat involved application process. In addition to paying $85, interested travelers must pass a background check, attend an in-person meeting at an enrollment center -- currently limited to airports in Washington and Indianapolis, though more will open later -- and have fingerprints collected. If, according to TSA administrator John Pistole, the agency has "a high confidence that you are not a terrorist," the participant will receive a PreCheck "known traveler" number, good for five years, that will allow them to use expedited security checkpoints at 40 airports.

What's the Big Idea?

Right now, PreCheck is only available to people who belong to exclusive traveler or frequent-flyer programs offered by a relatively small number of participating airlines. Newly "known travelers" should also know that having a valid PreCheck number won't make them completely immune to random searches. According to their Web site, the TSA "will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening in order to retain a certain element of randomness to prevent terrorists from gaming the system."

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