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Pistole Calls TSA 'Gold Standard' For Aviation Security

Says Agency Has Prevented Attacks Originating At U.S. Airports

All known terrorist activities directed at airplanes since 9/11 have originated at non-U.S. airports, says TSA chief John Pistole, adding that "terrorists see the U.S. as the gold standard of aviation security."

Pistole's remarks came during a session with journalists in Charlotte, NC, last Friday. USA Today reports that Pistole credits the "layers" of security making it far more difficult for terrorists to bring non-metallic explosives through a security checkpoint for the agency's reputation. "No one layer of security picks up everything," he said. But he stressed that with random secondary screenings, body scanners, explosive-sniffing dogs, and other tactics, U.S. airports are very secure. He also said that a focus on passengers the agency deems to be the "highest risk" has helped in that regard.

Still, Pistole admits that his agency has a long way to go in the realm of popularity with the traveling public. Passengers complain, often loudly and publicly, about privacy concerns and a process they view as slow and cumbersome.

Pistole told the reporters that the agency has "moved off zero" when it comes to public opinion. But, he said mending the agency's image is not something that can be done in the short term.

FMI: www.tsa.gov

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