TSA watch: Can you trust the new trusted-traveler program?

Stung by the traveling public’s disapproval of its one-size-fits-all approach to passenger screening, the Transportation Security Administration last month announced that it would begin testing a new trusted-traveler program. But if you think that the next time you fly, you’ll speed through the security line like it’s 1999, you’ll probably be disappointed.

Only a chosen few will qualify, at no cost, for the first phase of the identity-based pre-screening test, which is scheduled to launch this fall. Elite-level frequent fliers with American and Delta, plus members of other trusted-traveler programs such as Global Entry, which offers a shortcut throughU.S. Customs, will be eligible. And the program will initially be available in just four airports: Atlanta, Detroit, Miami and Dallas.

That hasn’t stopped some from getting excited about the idea, including tourism officials and frequent fliers, who see pre-screening as a more efficient way of checking passengers. But other travelers are skeptical, believing that the concept could create more problems than it solves.

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They’re both right.

The U.S. Travel Association, a trade group that represents the American travel industry, has been pushing hard for a trusted-traveler option. It recently commissioned an online survey on the program’s feasibility, which not surprisingly found that almost two-thirds of frequent leisure travelers would be willing to go through a pre-screening process if they could potentially cut the TSA line and avoid the pat-down or full-body scan. U.S. Travel’s survey also suggested that nearly half of all air travelers would pay an annual fee of up to $150 to belong to such a program.

But Erik Hansen, the organization’s director of domestic policy, says that all air travelers would benefit from the new TSA program. “Regular travelers will start to see shorter wait times, because you’ve removed people from the line and sped up the entire process as a result,” he told me.

Adam Tope, an attorney in Washington, also has high hopes for the trusted-traveler program. He already uses Global Entry, a service of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He describes it as “life-changing” because it allows him to speed through customs instead of waiting in a long line. He hopes that the trusted-traveler program will be equally effective.

But other passengers aren’t so enthusiastic. “This will simply make the average American air traveler a second-class citizen,” says Jeff Buske, a Las Vegas entrepreneur and activist who invented privacy- and radiation-protective undergarments. “Or, if you will, an un-trusted citizen.”

Buske thinks that the program’s probable annual fee would be burdensome to the average traveler. Although it has no annual fee for now, Global Entry charges a $100 nonrefundable application fee, and the TSA program is expected to cost about the same. This would mean that only frequent business travelers and wealthy vacationers could afford the fast lane, something Buske considers unfair.

Jeff Jung, a TV producer and frequent traveler based in San Antonio, says that he wouldn’t consider the program successful unless all travelers — even infrequent air travelers who can’t afford to join — can see some benefit. But something is better than nothing, he says.

“The current situation is clearly unworkable and not pleasant for anyone who goes through the screening process,” he says. “So I applaud the TSA for trying to improve the situation. But everything hinges on how they implement it.”

While a successful trusted-traveler program could improve the screening experience, that’s not the only reason TSA is heading in that direction, according to Marc Frey, a former Department of Homeland Security official who now works for a Washington law firm. The TSA is running out of ways to check travelers, he says, so “implementing a screening system based on data provided by the traveler is the most efficient and effective alternative.”

In a sense, both its supporters and its detractors are right about the trusted-traveler program. Pre-screening passengers via a background check is a far more efficient approach. For some air travelers, and maybe someday for many, it could make air travel less of a hassle.

But at what price? Beyond a possible $100 application fee and perhaps a $150 annual cost, a trusted-traveler program would require other sacrifices. Giving up personal information and other biometric data is troubling to me, and to many air travelers it’s completely unacceptable. Getting a pre-flight fingerprint or iris scan is the kind of thing that would have inspired George Orwell to write another dystopian novel.

We already fund the TSA through taxes, a “9/11 Passenger Security Fee” and a ticket tax of $2.50 per flight. Although a TSA spokesman emphasized to me that the program is free during the initial phase, I’m troubled by a screening initiative that could someday cost participants extra.

Not only would it further divide the haves — the elite-level passengers who are already granted every amenity they desire — and the have-nots crammed into the steerage section, but it also sends a problematic message from the government to air travelers: If you want us to trust you, it’ll cost you.

81 thoughts on “TSA watch: Can you trust the new trusted-traveler program?

  1. There is one rather large elephant in the room with regard to the trusted traveler program

    if – like me – you travel to the US on a fairly regular basis, and you are not a permanent resident (or citizen), you cannot use the system at all!

    So +1 for citizens and -1 for the rest of us!

    And don’t get me started on Global Access (when it’s working)

    1. ALL: The US Travel Association is pushing their version of the Trusted Traveler program on the TSA. Their committee included the two Presidents/CEOs of the only two strip search scanner makers.
      IF you download their vision at http://www.ustravel.org you will see that EVEN TRUSTED TRAVELERS will continue to be subject to illegal strip search scanners and sexual assault patdowns. This organization is not your friend, they are in lock-step with the two companies that profit from our constitutional violations (you can see the Committee names and roles in the PDF they have), and it is purely playing on the frequent-fliers who want “convenience” while the TSA continues to grope terminally ill 95-year olds.Is their groping the worst thing I have been through? No…but I want a US that won’t let the so-called ‘terrorists’ win by having our fears exploited for unimaginably nearly non-existent possibilities so that we oppress ourselves. It is truly a defining moment in US history. If the TSA’s illegal and abusive tactics become the norm, it is the death of the 4th amendment, it is the death of “reasonable” searches, and it will absolutely lead to even further abuses by the government in other venues. I sympathize with frequent flyers and they shouldn’t have to put up with this at all. I hope they still advocate for my Trusted Traveller Program…I “trust” that US citizens can “travel” without their constitutional rights or dignity being destroyed.

      1.  Well said. But for just $200  a year you can have half your constitutional rights back. Humm. Justice for those who can afford it, that doesn’t sound familiar. Keeps us little folks from slowing down the important people.

    2. Hi Dave:

      In reply to only US citz. There are other  programs around the world as well, such as Engladn using priority lanes and fast track services.

      Elliott: We’ve long since created separation of the travel masses- business class v. economy class seats.

      And… biometric data is in play with passports with tracking chips as well as giving your fingerprints through customs. You can’t get around this.

      Now we just need an efficient system for those of us on the road more than not and inevitably caught behind the family of four in slow motion or with immediate need to catch a departure.

  2. Chris, you are bit off in this comment “the elite-level passengers who are already granted every amenity they desire.” 

    Elite level flyers get a rare upgrade to first class, get to stand in a slightly less long line to check in, a less lengthy line for boarding and a telephone number to call that only has a 15 minute hold time rather than the normal 20.

    Either your level of travel desires is pretty low, or you have an inflated value of the elite level services airlines offer. 

    It is not a matter of dividing the haves from the have nots…..it is more a matter of taking care of the customers that bring them the most business.  If you fly often, the airlines recognize that and take care of you.  It is no different than when your favorite local restaurant finds a table for you quickly every Saturday night, even when it is busy….since you are a regular.

    1. Status is unrelated to safety and security. Reducing either on the basis of status merely makes things less safe and secure – for everyone.

      From a security perspective, letting elite-status passengers bypass parts is irrational.

      1. It isn’t at all about dividing travelers based on status or anything.
        It’s just that this appeals more to the travelers who travel more. And the more they travel, the more likely they are to have elite status.

          1. But no more trustworthy than dying 95-year olds in wheelchairs who fly once in 20 years, and on their last flight…forever.

          2. “People who fly more often on a regular basis are less likely to be terrorists.”

            Really??  Where is the logic in that?  You think a potential terrorist couldn’t get into this program?  Yeah, like they couldn’t go to flight school and learn to fly a plane without learning how to land it, and how they couldn’t raise alarms even though they were already on watch lists, and . . . . 

  3. Ethically indefensible.  And yet another scenario ripe for abuse.

    Yeah, give out your personal biometric data — sure, they’ll never compromise that! Then you have to be a frequent flyer or just wealthy — the rich can always get around rules the rest of us have to follow. Otherwise, you’re screwed.  Why should people who can’t afford to fly very often have to endure more scrutiny?  Is it okay that the hoi polloi continue to get abused, as long as the wealthy aren’t inconvenienced?

    Even those who do agree to provide all this info will still be subject to more invasive searching if the TSA finds an “anomaly.”  That’s their all-purpose trigger for abuse now; it’s not going to change once this so-called system is in place.  (Maybe you’ll get groped with diamond-studded gloves instead — a more luxurious experience!)

    As an aside, don’t you think that people with the patience and fortitude to plan 9/11 will also be able to get around this?

    Here’s an idea —  in honor of the late, great Color Code Terror Threat alert system, let’s just slap a big ol’ orange sticker on the “risky” travelers. Yeah, history has never shown us anything like that before!

    1. “As an aside, don’t you think that people with the patience and fortitude to plan 9/11 will also be able to get around this?”

      Just what I was thinking. What’s to stop a terrorist from becoming a frequent flier and joining the program? Setting up a history of frequent cross-country flights over a few months?

      If we’re going to be paranoid, let’s be paranoid! 😛

      …Or we can be sensible, dial back on the theatre, and hopefully(!) adopt screening processes that are actually effective.

  4. Unacceptable to anyone who can read and understand the U.S. Constitution.  You know, the people Nutty Napolitano images to be domestic terrorists.

    “This will simply make the average American air traveler a second-class citizen,” says Jeff Buske, a Las Vegas entrepreneur and activist who invented privacy- and radiation-protective undergarments. “Or, if you will, an un-trusted citizen.”

    The fascist nuts of the DHS cannot be trusted to run a trusted traveler list.  They’re fascists.  No matter who we vote into the Executive Branch, we’re still going to have a DHS run by party wingnuts with bad judgment and low moral character.  It’s the nature of the beast.

    The more we defund the DHS, the more aspects of the Unpatriot Act we roll back or rewrite to Constitutional standards, the better off this nation will be. 

    Post 9/11 hysteria has led us in the wrong direction.  Let’s get back on course.

  5. What is the thought behind bypassing some airport screening?  This breaks the security model.

    I went through the “frequent/experienced” traveller lineup in Atlanta Hartsfield airport recently.  Unfortunately, the guy checking ID was anything but experienced.  His dunderheaded approach was so slow, it was almost as if he couldn’t read.  It was the SLOW lineup.

    One of the many things I found disapointing about Atlanta Hartsfield.  A bad airport with bad people in it if I have every seen one.  (Atlanta – offence intended).

  6. Once the shorter wait times have appeared for ‘regular travelers’ (because the TSA agents in those lines have less people to screen), then surely the agency will eventually simply cut the number of agents working those lines, so they will go back to their current levels.

    No right minded and efficient organisation (hmmm) is going to deliberately organise its operations so as to engineer that its workforce does less work.

  7. This will neither improve aircraft security nor will it decrease the amount of groping:
    1.  If you wished to cause harm to an aircraft, becoming a “Trusted Traveler” might be a good first step.
    2.  Whatever TSA resources are freed up as a result of the TT program would be inflicted on the rest of the traveling public.

  8. Frankly, if this is the idea of TSA or DHS or both, I don’t trust it automatically.  Nothing they do is to the benefit of the traveling public but to themselves and, mark my words, there will be abuses to the system.  We’ll hear of a member of TSA or DHS selling information, stealing information, using the list for nefarious means, etc.

    My husband is a frequent traveler, me – not as much.  Were his company to take part in this, his company would most likely pay the fees while self-employed I would have to pay it myself.

    I don’t think this will improve anything nor will it be to the benefit of anyone but DHS, TSA or the private company hired to take care of this.  Basically, taking part in this program feels like giving the government permission to do a background check on everyone who flies.

    I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist but given the idiocy and abuses of power by the current administration, given the deer caught in headlights look Janet gives us all whenever she’s questioned about, well, anything, I don’t trust this is as simple as it sounds.

    My final thought is – if this is a requirement of flying, why do we have to pay for it?  This merely adds more fees to the pleasure of flying in a time when we’re being “fee-d” to death.

    1. I doubt they’d clear you as a trusted traveler anyway – just posting on this site probably makes you (and Lisa Simeone, and me if they can hack my name – as I’m sure they can) a terrorist in the eyes of the TSA!

  9. And of course, the next attack won’t even come through air travel.  Are we so unimaginative that we can’t think of any other way to disrupt everyday life and sow terror in our society?

    Yes, make air travel as safe as you like – it doesn’t fix anything.

  10. As far as I’m concerned, let them implement the trusted traveler program. If you don’t trust it, then don’t join it. It is opt-in, not opt-out. And any extra ‘costs’ would be covered by the fees so don’t say that it costs you more.

    In the end, the numbers will speak for themselves. I suspect that there will be many people who object to it (myself included), but also many who will join as it is worth it to them.

    This is America – people should have the freedom to choose whether to join or not, not to say that such a program shouldn’t exist.

    1. I believe we still have the right to say what we want.  

      (Though not at TSA checkpoints, of course, where if you say the wrong thing, or are simply accused of it, you are de facto a criminal.)

      1. Fair enough.
        But people have the choice to join, so there’s nothing wrong with the program existing in the first place.

        1. People should have the right to take flights that don’t violate their bodies and the constitution also. Using your same logic, those who are scared despite the fact ther are ZERO US Domestic non-metallic bomb, suicidal airline passenger bombings over the last 48 years, can have the choice to join the “Scope and Grope” option….just don’t expect me to give up my rights.

  11. Just wondering if being in this program means you don’t have to go through any security at all? I was a member of the now defunkt Clear program. There was a pre screening process and fingerprints were taken. I (and my belongings) still had to go through security, it was merely a much faster line because it was reserved for Clear members only.

    If this is the same idea as the Trusted Traveler program, then the suggestion that some terrorist will enroll in the program, simply so they would be able to get on an airplane without being screened is misguided.

    1. Fred, according to Pistole, you’ll pay extra, give the agency even more data about yourself, and possibly go through a faster line.  It doesn’t mean you’ll be able to skip security.  It’s modeled on the Clear program, which, as you point out, was a failure.

      1. Supposedly, the reason the Clear program was a failure was because they had trouble getting some airports to participate. Perhaps a TSA mandate, requiring everyone to participate would make it more effective. Who knows. I’m for anything that gets me through the line faster

    2. Clear is dead AGAIN?……. dang it……. I’m keepin’ my card, Maybe the Trusted Traveler Program will use the biometrics in it next……. 

      Will I pay for this program, Darn tootin,  As a former Military Policeman and Customs Qualified, you’re right, TSA & DHS don’t trust you – IT’S THEIR JOB!  This ain’t kindergarten, everyone on the playground is not your friend.  They are paid to be suspicious, that does not make them fascist, by the way. 

      As for WHY offer it, they don’t just collect your information and print you a pretty card, it’s called “Background Checks”, and no, you didn’t get checked this close when you got your passport.   Can it be faked out?  Maybe, but you need a really tight background cover if the checks are done right. 

      Is it perfect, no, and even if it was, some people would STILL cry an whine…… God, it’s great to live in a Democracy!!!

      1. “They are paid to be suspicious, that does not make them fascist, by the way.”

        No, what they do – treating everybody like terrorists, violating our rights, and being less useful than a roll of duct tape – makes them fascist.

  12. We are all already terrorists-in-waiting in the eyes of TSA, thus we are not only untrusted, but we’re all downright suspicious. And there’s no guarantee that anybody who gets into this program still won’t be treated like garbage on a whim by TSA.

    But I’ve already got a passport, which has involved extra checks. So why should I have to pay for yet another, similar system? Not to mention, other programs have been attempted since 9/11, and they’ve either disappeared or failed to gain wide-spread use.

    Having a bunch of different programs with fancy names like ‘trusted’ isn’t going to solve anything. And Jim is entirely right: allowing the ‘elites’ to get this advantage, simply because they’re ‘elite’, just shows what a farce this program will be, too.

  13. Why should I buy back a right that I already have?  The trusted traveler program allows you to skip the scope and grope, but I believe that is unconstitional, so why should I buy that back.  Also, even with the trusted traveler program, you can still be selected for additional screening….so again this is a bust.

    1. … but whether you like it or not, you don’t have that right anymore. (Whether you should or not is a different story). You’re essentially buying a privilege that used to be a right. And yes, you can be selected for additional screening, but presumably that won’t happen much or they wouldn’t have accepted you into the program.

      1. Never presume anything about the TSA, especially if it involves logic.  The TSA does whatever the heck it wants, with no valid reasons, using no logic.  They are a bloated, power-hungry, money-sucking boondoggle that adds nothing to the security of our transportation networks.  Don’t presume they’ll treat “trusted travelers” any differently than anyone else.  We’re all terrorists in their eyes.

          1. No, it is an accurate and provable description. In a letter to one of the Iowa Senators, the TSA said “there is no typical profile of a terrorist” in defence of their illegal and abusive tactics. They are bloated as they are one of the quickest growing agencies when they were created, they spend billions of dollars and have found…um, Zero….terrorists.

            They do whatever they want, no one has reigned them in. They use little logic, hence touching 1 yr old children and a terminally ill cancer victim.

            Is it also hyperbole to say millions of travelers just put up with the TSA because they don’t care enough to stick up for their rights and the rights of others who are more impacted by the TSA, such as the guy who had urine spilled on him twice now by the TSA?

          2. No, actually, I don’t.  I meant every word in my post exactly as I stated it – no exaggeration or hyperbole. 

            The TSA is more of a threat to American citizens today than terrorism.  How many reports of terrorist activities are we hearing about on a daily basis?  And how many reports of innocent travelers getting sexually molested, irradiated, physically assaulted, arrested, denied boarding (thereby losing hundreds if not thousands of dollars), and generally abused?  Reports are coming in EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Don’t believe me?  Google is your friend.

      2. “Whether you should or not is a different story”

        No, that is THE story.

        You don’t get to take away rights because you feel like it. That’s why they are RIGHTS.

    2. “The trusted traveler program allows you to skip the scope and grope”

      Except it doesn’t. It doesn’t allow you to skip the scope and grope. Herr Pistole has made this clear.  If you sign up, it merely shunts you to a supposedly faster lane.  If the all-knowing, all-seeing, never-wrong TSA agents spot an “anomaly,” off you go to the gropefest.

  14. Other Airports in the world has already the Security Fast Lane for FC, BC and Elite members and that world very well and cut the waiting times largely and they don’t have any extra programs,  just arrange a separated priority entry. By experience my waiting time at Security Fast Lanes : Geneva GVA (O minutes), Tokyo NRT (1 minutes), Bangkok BKK (0 minutes), Paris CDG N1-lane (2 minutes), LHR (5 minutes), Zurich (0 minutes)… I guess the Airlines pay a small extra charge by issuing a Fast Lane Pass to be collected at the separated line.
    TSA bosses need to travel around the world to see how other operate to made improvement. Just watch how the Swiss, German, Japanese and Korean Security Agents are polite and well dressed. You treat other people with respects and manner, you will receive respect and manner.

  15. The US government has already announced their goal of starting a global data base of bio-metric data on the entire world’s population for the purposes of tracking our whereabouts, and for controlling criminals.

    This “Trusted Traveler” program is just the start of that. DHS has also announced their plan, if this works out well and is accepted by airline passengers, to expand it to all forms of mass travel, sporting events, malls, schools, etc. … just as they have done with the TSA molestations and nudie photo shoots.

    Until this insane invasion of our privacy is halted, I will be traveling only by personal vehicle. Anyone who accepts this as being even close to normal deserves exactly what they get in the end.

    1. It’s totally true. If you want to get Global Entry/Nexus admission, you will get your fingerprints and iris scanned. So if you are aware about your privacy just forget the program.
      On the other side, I have been in the program from the beginning, it help me avoid a line of thousand travelers at Immigration and Customs at the worst entry points ORD, JFK, LAX and MIA. It works at Canadian/US borders too. At some periods of the year, the line of cars at the border is 3 hours.
      Going thru the immigration at ORD take less than 15 seconds for me usually, no line, just a machine which read me Passport and my fingerprints.

  16. Personally, I don’t think $100-$150 is that bad, considering every 2 years people pay $200 to get the latest smart phone which is just as good as their latest phone only shiner and a tiny bit faster.

    The way I look at it, instead of an added cost, people should think of it as a fee and that you can save on the fee by going through the security line.  So long as the cost is the same for everyone and is not unreasonable, I don’t see a problem privacy wise.  The question is do you want a physical search or historical search through your past.  Historically speaking, I don’t have a problem.  Physically, I rather not have my privates viewed nor my body groped.

    1. Don,

      Again, a “historical search” still doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be spared a grope.  They aren’t mutually exclusive.

    2. “people should think of it as a fee and that you can save on the fee by going through the security line.”

      Boy, the airlines have worked their magic on you.

  17. So let me get this right – if I cannot afford to pay $250 for starters, if I am not already enrolled in Global Entry (or some other TSA program), and if I don’t have gadzillion earned mileage in Delta SkyMiles or American AAdvantage; then I am an UNTRUSTWORTHY AMERICAN TRAVELER?

    This untrustworthy American can sit on a Jury, feed hundred of kids in a cafeteria, drive a school bus, join the Army, buy guns, etc, etc. So what makes people like me so untrustworthy?

    1. Ah, but you must understand – to the TSA, we’re all terrorists until we can prove otherwise by being irradiated, viewed nude, or sexually molested.  Welcome to Amerika.

  18. One thing thing I feel is important in all this is that there is a cost to living in a free society.  By that I do not mean government imposed security.  I mean that bad things will happen occasionally and sometimes people may even die. But it is important that even if that happens we do not change the fundamental fabric of our society.

    Unfortunately, it appears as if we have let a very, very small group of individuals change the fundamental fabric of life in America.

  19. Hi – I have read all 47 comments and would like to comment about them. Most of you have a great deal of data in cyber space to do a fair background check currently. As a retired senior naval officer (26 years of service) I am familiar with background checks and accept them as part of today’s world. I respectfully submit the following: (1) No system is perfect – I knew a spy when I was in the service and would have laughed if you told me that he was a spy. He is now serving a life sentence in the brig. ; (2) I would pay $100 – $200 to update my background check and submit bio-metric evaluation even if I fly only once – twice a year. (3) Everyone must buy their tickets a minimum of two weeks before departure to ensure a background check. Tickets purchased within two weeksget detailed review; (4) Get qualified personnel at the TSA

    Have a wonderful day – Cliff

    1. But the qualified Boss first. Because qualified Boss hired qualified personnel and qualified managerial processus.

  20. I just can’t get around the name – Trusted Traveler Program.  If I don’t sign up, I’m not trust-worthy?   

    It says above, “According to Marc Frey, a former Department of Homeland Security official who now works for a Washington law firm. The TSA is running out of ways to check travelers, he says, so ‘implementing a screening system based on data provided by the traveler is the most efficient and effective alternative.’” The TSA is running out of ways to check us?  They could be profiling or something similar now but they are so obsessed with making no one feel bad that they make everyone feel bad and suspect everyone who wants to fly.  This program creates an almost similar effect, but in reverse.  Now you’ll feel singled out because you can’t afford or don’t desire to pay extra money to be “trusted”. 

  21. Papers please.

    Why do I have to prove my innocence just to get on a plane? While the of the Trusted Traveller sounds good on paper, it is a gross violation of Due Process. There is no way I am giving the TSA, or DHS, or any branch of government MORE information just to travel from here to there. So what if that travel happens to be in an airplane. The Constitution and several Court Cases have proved again and again that I, as a citizen, am allowed free travel in and among these many states. TSA needs to go away!

  22. Lets call it what it is, a pre-abused traveler program…an internal passport. This is worse than any grope and scope operation. The nazis would have been thrilled to have this. 

    Sadly, many Americans will probably be thrilled to turn over their DNA, retina scan, finger print, pay stubs, credit report and facebook friends, for the hope of not being being gate raped. Then surprise! TSA will still grope you if feel like it. 

  23. The question is you are trusted for how long, one year, two years or forever. There should be a re-screening requirement sometime, this is security we are talking about. Does that mean people holding security clearances as a work and/or employment requirement can get in the program without further screening? What about Green Card holders, would they ever be enrolled in the program?
    Finally, how would the security regime differ than the rest of us and if the threat environment changes are they going to still be trusted travellers?

    Just saying

  24. If I flew a little more then I currently do, then I would consider this.  
    But, it would have to exempt you from the nudoscopes, taking off your shoes and the liquids ban.  I’m sure I could find some other things to make it worth it, but I think you get an idea of what I”m looking for.  
    Also, I’m ok with giving info for a background check, but biometrics to travel within the US seems a little extreme.  It’s all about trust and I’m not sure I do.  

    As for the non-americans.  Most countries do treat their own citizens better then their non-citizens. Also, our constitution does state “we the people of the united states,” the founders clearly differentiated between citizens and non-citizens. Could there be a way to add the non-americans, sure.  But, are there enough to justify the effort to create that process?

    As for fairness and separating classes. This is certainly geared towards more frequent travelers who spend a lot of time at the airport and going through check points.  It makes sense that they would be more willing to pay money and give up some of their personal information to save time.  10 minutes waiting on line for someone who flies once or twice a year isn’t worth the investment.  But when you calculate that by 50 times, that’s real time in your life.

    1. “…our constitution does state “we the people of the united states”
      Try the Declaration of Independence instead:
      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
      they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among
      these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these
      rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from
      the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes
      destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish
      it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles
      and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to
      effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that
      Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient
      causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed
      to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the
      forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and
      usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them
      under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such
      Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been
      the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which
      constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
      Does this ring a bell? It’s time for a change – eliminate the TSA and recognize that the same rights we want for ourself belong intrinsically – not just because we choose to grant them – to all people, whatever their nationality!

  25. It’s ironic that this will be called a “Trusted Traveler” program, because it really does hinge on trust, and not the trust that John Pistole has in my not trying to take down a plane! The incidence rate for homicidal intent being the reason to buy an airplane ticket is so mind-bogglingly small that it’s senseless to parse the differences between one in ten billion or one in seven billion or three in twenty billion.  It is the definition of stupidity to apply universal screening when a miniscule pre-test probability guarantees that in practice, every single test positive is a false positive.  If you haven’t learned this in your very first stats class, then you need to go back to school and study harder next time.

    So let’s talk about trust.  I don’t trust the TSA.  They’ve lied to all of us before:
    when they claimed that naked scanner images can’t be saved or transmitted (the TSA required that the machines provide ethernet connections and USB ports for extracting images, see http://www.naturalnews.com/027914_TSA_full-body_scanners.html)

    when they started patdowns that involve sexual touching of innocent people without warning the public about this extremely significant change – surely a lie of omission if there ever was one

    when Pistole claimed that children under 12 were exempt from enhanced patdowns (quoted right here on Chris’ site: http://www.elliott.org/blog/myth-or-fact-tsa-cant-seem-to-get-it-straight/ ) until the video of the six-year-old girl getting a crotch and breast feelup went on YouTube

    when they claimed their process is “respectful and sensitive” while spilling urine on passengers or exposing a woman’s breasts at the checkpoint and then heaping verbal sexual harassment on the victim

    and of course there are many other incidents that could be cited.  The bottom line is, there is no trust left.  We, the American people, do not trust that the TSA cares about protecting us.  We’ve been sexually assaulted one too many times.  We do not trust a word that comes out of that lying child molester Pistole’s deceitful face.  Why should we trust that by giving TSA our data they will treat us better?  My guess is that they’ll take people’s money and privacy, then claim that new “threat environments” mean that even trusted travelers will continue to enjoy the radiation strip search and the breast and testicle groping.   I don’t trust these scum.  The sooner TSA is disbanded and destroyed the better.

  26. I think an annual fee of $150. is rather confiscatory, but a one-time fee of $100. for five years of coverage, as Global entry charges, is reasonable for setup costs.

  27. This is already happening.  The debate is about who should control the decision about who should be trusted … and who gets to keep the fees.

    Treating every traveler as if s/he present an identical security risk is patently absurd. Pilots crewing an airplane, for instance, present a lower risk. The screening should include reasonable risk assessments, both objective and subjective.

    Many people already pay an annual fee to skip the lines For example, ClearMe.com offers a limited airport service (MCO only at this point) that leverages biometric data to skip the line for identify confirmation. It does not let you  bypass the security bag checks or body scans. Other travelers pay indirectly to skip some of the lines, via premium class tickets or memberships in airlines’ elite flier programs. The airlines clearly like that arrangement, because it allows THEM to decide who gets promoted to elite security status and allows THEM to keep the additional fees.

    TSA should set reasonable standards, but it should not create monopolies around who can provide the trusted traveler services. Travelers may be more comfortable providing personal biometric data to an independent security vendor than to multiple airlines or TSA itself.

    1. And just what product are you hawking?  My debate is not about “who gets to keep the fees”, it’s about the government treating me as guilty until I pay a fee to prove myself innocent.  I’m not comfortable “providing personal biometric data” to anyone, least of all an independent security profiteer like yourself.  Read the Constitution again – you can have my biometric data when you get a stinking warrant for it.

  28. It would seem to me that any terrorist organization can circumvent this process. With enough money they can conjure up a group of elite business travelers who can then whisk through security. Mohamed Atta had no beard, frequented strip clubs and drank alcohol as part of his carefully crafted disguise. He was even issued a motor vehicle license posthumously which proves the dysfunctional behavior of bureaucrats.
    Given the way the TSA pats down chemo patients with IVs and old ladies in wheel chairs it’s highly doubtful these same bureaucrats will add safety to travel. It will, however, create a new First Class form of travel. The wealthy elite are not accustomed to being herded amongst us common folk. They obviously have sway in Washington and have had enough.

  29. So veterans with disabilities, no consideration for lowered fees?  So we take your money, and you go ahead of the line over former service members that had clearances from way back, and now new immigrants in this country that pay the fee go ahead of the line?  This is bullcrap.  This country has gone to crap!

  30. this program is a waste of your time and money. paid the application fee, went for the interview (only a few places to choose from around the country), was approved – but never received the nexus card. have now emailed and called many numbers (even put a request in with my congressman), but no one answers the question of where of if they ever sent the nexus card.

  31. MY 4 years and the 100+ years of all my family members serving this country did not matter. If you have ever felt a slap in the face this was it.

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