Watch List Shields T.S.A. Screeners From Threatening, and Unruly, Travelers

Watch List Shields T.S.A. Screeners From Threatening, and Unruly, Travelers


“If I’m running late, having a bad day and I’m rude to the screeners, do I get put on the list?” said Fred Burton, the chief security officer at Stratfor, a global intelligence company in Austin, Tex.

“The bottom line is that in the post 9/11 world, do we really need another watch list — particularly one from the T.S.A., which is not an intelligence agency?” said Mr. Burton, a former deputy chief of counterterrorism at the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

Mr. Wheaton said the new list aims to protect airport security screeners from travelers who previously have been demonstrably unruly at, or near, checkpoints. He said screeners were assaulted 34 times last year, up from 26 in 2016.

Matthew F. Leas, a T.S.A. spokesman, said in an email that the agency “wants to ensure there are safeguards in place to protect Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) and others from any individual who has previously exhibited disruptive or assaultive behavior at a screening checkpoint and is scheduled to fly.”

The United States government maintains a bevy of watch lists.

The most well known, maintained by the F.B.I., is a large database of the names of more than one million people — including tens of thousands of American citizens or legal residents — who are known or suspected terrorists. Officials rely on that database to compile the no-fly list that has been criticized for barring travelers based on mistaken identities, including prominent politicians, celebrities and young children.

The Secret Service maintains a watch list of people who pose a potential threat to government officials or buildings. It publicly discloses the types of information it collects in the database, but not the names that are on it.

But the new T.S.A. database, according to people familiar with it, includes travelers who have simply had a verbal altercation with security officers or have taken other actions that the agency said interferes in the screening process.



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