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Our attorneys handle all areas of state and federal criminal litigation.  Quality service is our goal for every client and each case. The stakes are high for federal crimes. You need an attorney that will go the distance no matter what the charges are.  

Transportation Security Administration’s Mission

The Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) is a governmental agency authorized under the  U. S. Department of Homeland Security.

The mission is to provide security for the traveling public in the United  States. The goal of the TSA is to procure integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness of TSA’s workforce, operations, and programs through objective audits, covert testing, inspections, and criminal investigations.   

TSA’s purpose consists of policies that are communicated to the travelers while securing the airport.

Reasons for Creation of TSA

The terrorist attack of 911 demonstrated the need for the airport vulnerability in reference to the security of the aviation system.  The creation of the TSA provided a way to strengthen airport security and make people feel safe in their airline travels.

How they implement the TSA?

  • Under the leadership of President George W. Bush and the presiding Congress,  the Aviation and Transportation and Security Act became effective on November 19, 2001.
  • The Transportation and Security Act created the TSA which was under the initial supervision of the United States Department of Transportation.  
  • Later, the supervision of the TSA moved to Homeland Security on March 9, 2003.
  • The TSA creation addressed the dire need to create policies to improve airport security.
  • The TSA developed rules to strengthen and protect the U.S. transportation system which encompasses buses, railroads, highways, mass transit systems, pipelines, and ports.  

The primary mission of the TSA is safety on airport security and prevent high aircraft jacking. The improvements in the technology and new laws over the years has been fundamental in helping the TSA maintain their goals.     

Laws Governs the TSA

Congress enacted the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), and transferred authority for enforcement of civil aviation security requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration to TSA. The law sought to standardize pre-flight passenger and cargo screening by federalizing security service and screening personnel in the nation’s airports.  

The TSA has authority under the Total Information Awareness (“TIA”) system.

The TIA is a searchable database that maintains personal information including medical and financial records.  TIA was named later the Terrorist Information Awareness.

The purpose of the name change was to make the department more instrumental in their efforts to decrease terrorist attacks through the transportation systems of the United States.  TSA has assistance by partnering with other agencies in order to meet its mission.

Investigation of the TSA

TSA  duties consist of all types of collaboration with criminal investigations, audit and compliance cases along with covert testing efforts. The agencies involved in the investigation include the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG).  

Some of the areas of investigation consist of firearms, explosives, incendiaries,  and security violation. TSA investigative power includes the delegation from the Transportation Security Administration  § 1549.3 which provides the investigation authority.

The investigation power of the TSA allows them to analyze various variables such as the certified cargo screening facility, airport operator, foreign air carrier, indirect air carrier, an airport tenant. The objective of the investigation by the TSA  is to protect passengers and implement security measures aimed at minimizing terrorist threats.   

TSA Sanctions

The TSA has the Sanctions Guidance Policy that provides the standards for imposing civil penalties in accordance with 49 C.F. R. § 1503.401.

The goal of the TSA is to issue sanctions as a means of deterring future or similar acts while protecting the security for the airport and passengers.

Agencies that Partner with TSA

The Federal Air Marshalls, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security are just some of the law enforcement agencies that partner with the TSA.

What are the ways to keep our transportation secure?

  • TSA maintains a partnership with the National Transportation Safety Board and Transportation Department along with intelligence and law enforcement communities to share information.  
  • TSA  has partners with other nations to strengthen international global aviation security. Innovation has allowed the TSA to work efficiently with the counter-terrorist operation which helps to secure our nation’s transportation system.
  • TSA administrative powers set the standard as determined by the  Transportation Security Administration pursuant to 49 U.S. C. § 114  who works in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the protection of aviation safety and air carrier operations.
  • The TSA has a collaboration with the International Civil Aviation Organization and other aeronautic authorities of foreign governments. The partnership with the other agencies allows the TSA to maintain its mission of protecting the nation’s transportation system.  

Traveler’s Rights at TSA Checkpoint’s

Travelers have rights as they proceed through the TSA checkpoints. The TSA ‘s authority consists of administrative searches on passengers and their belongs.

If during the search the matter may become criminal, only the 11 law enforcement personnel has the authorization to perform any criminal search. For example, passengers have a right not to remove or lift an article or clothing to reveal a sensitive area.

The illustration of the passenger’s rights can be found in an article entitled   8 Travel Rights at the TSA Airport Checkpoint

Screening Process of TSA

TSA must screen all travelers to confirm their identity.  Passenger must have identification that matches itineraries or tickets.

Foreign travelers must go through an unseen screening process through the Advance Passenger Information System (“APIS”), which is a database that stores the biographical information on airline passengers.  

After clearance by the TSA officers, passengers may proceed to the appropriate destination.

Duties of TSA  Officers

The duties of the TSA Officers have increased because of the new pre-flight screening process. The TSA Officer’s objective is to make sure that no explosive or harmful devices go through the security checkpoint.

TSA officers do not have any authority to arrest anyone.  There are no weapons or other firearms that the TSA officials possess. The TSA officials should call for law enforcement when needed.

Some examples when the TSA should call for law enforcement are as follows:

  • Passenger interferes with the screening process
  • Passenger tries to avoid the screening checkpoint
  • Firearms, large knives and potential explosives in possession of the passenger
  • A person on the “Be on the Lookout”   (“BOLO”) list

The goal of the TSA officials is to treat travelers with professionalism and courtesy. Implicitly, TSA officials must support the mission of checking passengers and their belongings in order to keep up the security of the airport.

Recent Trends of TSA

The TSA is a leader in knowing the recent trends and how to meet the needs of the public.  One of their methodologies consists of them being ready at all times. For this past spring break, security was increased.   

In a press release entitled, TSA Projects and Prepares for Another Record Number of Spring Break Traveler which can be found at https://www.tsa.gov/news/releases/2019/03/06/tsa-projects-and-prepares-another-record-number-spring-break-travelers.

As terrorist activities increase all around the world, TSA  elevated their security system. This includes the new Early Alert System, which is a color-coded warning system that indicates the probability of a terrorist attack. For the Orange and Red levels, the airport will employ a more advanced security perimeter for heightened threats.

This will assure the safety of the passengers and the overall airport security. Public safety is paramount to the TSA which many times are the triggering events for federal crimes.

Distinguishing Factors of Federal Crimes

Federal crimes have a distinguishing impact because of the high conviction rates by prosecutors.  Faster deadline and severe penalties are some of the complexity of federal crimes due to the law and specific facts of the case.  

Those crimes associated with the TSA can likely impose a federal conviction from probation or serious time in the federal prison.  

A federal conviction jeopardizes not only one’s freedom but your professional, family and reputation.

Reasons for Hiring An Attorney

When facing serious federal charges, it is imperative that you have a federal criminal defense attorney. The best defense is to have an attorney who has the skills and resilience in federal law.   

You need an attorney who is knowledgeable with the federal government such as federal investigations involving the Transportation Security Administration. If you want an attorney with a take-charge attitude, the attorneys in our firms are the right choice.  

Our attorneys have handled some of the most serious cases involving criminal investigations.   We are here to help guide you to the most reasonable option based on your needs. You should give us a call today.  It may be the best decision you ever made.