10,000 TSA staff to get secret intel over the next two years.

WASHINGTON — About 10,000 airport security workers will get access…

WASHINGTON — About 10,000 airport security workers will get access to secret intelligence that could help stop terrorist attacks on planes.
The Transportation Security Administration plan aims to help its officers spot terrorists by giving them more detailed information about tactics and threats, TSA officials and security experts said. The agency, viewed by some as throngs of workers pawing through luggage at checkpoints, hopes to empower its higher-level workers as part of an effort to professionalize airport security.

The 10,000 people in line to get classified information are managers, supervisors and “behavior detection officers” who roam airports looking for suspicious people. They represent about 20% of the TSA’s airport workforce and exclude screeners who scan passengers and bags.

The information will give workers details about terrorist “tactics, planning, operations and threats,” TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne said. Those details “give context to things they see every day which may otherwise not appear unusual” and let workers “exercise discretion” in dealing with travelers, Payne added. She would not elaborate on specific intelligence the workers will get. All TSA airport workers now get daily intelligence briefings that include less sensitive information.

So far, 750 people have been cleared to get classified information, Payne said, adding that it will take two more years to get all 10,000 workers cleared.

Read the rest of Thomas Frank’s story at USA Today.

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