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US spies to travel without hassle: TSA

Last Updated: Monday, July 30, 2012 - 18:16

Aspen: The US Transportation Security Administration has enrolled government employees at three of America`s intelligence agencies in a program that allows them to pass through airport security with less hassle.

The TSA signed an agreement with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in February to include members of the intelligence community in "pre check", reports

Two million passengers have now gone through the so-called "pre check" program, since it was started last year. The logic is that these people fly all the time, and have given their personal information to the airlines. That makes them rather unlikely terrorists.

Same goes for the more than 800,000 people who hold top secret clearances America. They have already gone through all kinds of background checks.

"It is a voluntary program. So, if for example you have a NOC (a "non official cover”, or spy without any open connection to the government) who doesn`t want to be identified in any way, it`s optional," TSA chief John Pistole said.

"The beauty of it from my perspective is that the information that the person is a known and trusted traveller is embedded in a bar code (in the passport). And it doesn’t distinguish between a member of the intel community (and a) frequent flier. So the security officer at the checkpoint doesn’t know whoever you are," Pistole added.

The increased security measures at American airports have become a substantial burden for undercover agents. The use of eye-scanners and biometrically-enhanced passports has made it tough for a spy to assume another identity. But if that spy is willing to use her own name, she can go right ahead keep her heels on. In the bizarre world of post-9/11 security that counts as a small sign of progress, said.


First Published: Monday, July 30, 2012 - 18:16

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