Christopher McLaughlin, Assistant Administrator for Security Operations at the Transportation Security Administration told The Daily Caller that the TSA currently has no plans for mandatory security screenings in subways and train stations.
“There’s no planning in TSA to do that today. That’s not our intent for that mode of transportation; that is not a model that we believe would be effective or viable today, so in the current world that we’re living in, with the current threat streams that we’re aware of, that’s not anywhere in our planning,” he told TheDC at the National Press Club after TSA Administrator John Pistole’s address.
McLaughlin also disagrees with proposed legislation called the STRIP Act that would require the TSA to refer to Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) as something other than “officers.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the people, the men and women of TSA that do the real work on the front lines every single day. They absolutely are transportation security officers,” he said.
“They carry themselves with a tremendous amount of dignity and pride in what they do, tremendous sense of mission and I think for truly they’re the ones who are doing that every day to keep the traveling public safe. Referring to them any less than a security officer I think would be a mistake.”
The bill’s sponsor has a different view. (RELATED: More on TSA)
“While TSOs may have the appearance of a federal law enforcement officer they have neither the authority nor the power. If a passenger brings a loaded gun or an explosive device into an airport screening area there is nothing a TSO can do until the local police step in to save the day,” said Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who proposed the bill.
“As TSOs continue to expand their presence beyond our nation’s airports and onto our highways, every American citizen has the right to know that they are not dealing with actual federal law enforcement officers.”