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TSA: $300M Savings Could Reduce Screenings, Marshals

CNN gets its hands on internal TSA document
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2018 11:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – Hate airport security lineups? The Transportation Security Administration is offering to eliminate screenings entirely at small and medium-sized airports in a new cost-saving effort, CNN reports. An internal TSA document outlines the proposed $300 million budget slash, including fewer federal air marshals ($39 million), cuts at TSA headquarters ($26 million), fewer K-9 reimbursements to law enforcement (over $20 million), and less spent on part-time benefits ($18.5 million). But the removal of screenings at more than 150 airports with flights carrying 60 passengers or less—with savings of $115 million—is getting the most attention.

As CNN reported earlier, the proposal would have luggage and passengers on those flights screened after they land at larger airports for connecting flights. It's "stunning that this is even seriously being considered," says CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank. "Al Qaeda and ISIS still regard aviation as a priority target—that includes aircraft where you have fewer than 60 people on board." TSA officials say it's an old idea that returns from time to time, but with the TSA establishing a working group to analyze potential risk and cost, it's getting more attention this year. As a TSA spokesman tells the Hill, proposed cuts are "pre-decisional" and wouldn't happen "without a risk assessment to ensure the security of the aviation system." (Read more TSA stories.)

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