TSA approves private screeners for Orlando airport

The Transportation Security Administration has approved private airport security screeners for a major Florida airport, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said Monday.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) has long pushed for private screeners at Orlando's Sanford International Airport. He said Monday he hoped the move at the airport in his home state would open "a new era of reform for TSA operations, not only at Orlando Sanford but across the nation.

“It’s critical that TSA get out of the business of running a huge bureaucracy and human resources operation and refocus its attention on security, analyzing intelligence, and setting the highest risk-based security standards," Mica, who is a vocal critic of TSA, said in a statement.

"TSA needs to focus on going after terrorists — not little old ladies, veterans and children,” Mica continued.

A program allowing airports to opt out of federal security screening was included in the $59 billion authorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration that was approved earlier this year. The program calls for the contractors offering to provide security at airports that are normally served by TSA to prove they can offer services at a cheaper rate and still comply with the controversial agency's standards.

Earlier this year, TSA allowed a seasonal airport in West Yellowstone, Mont., to participate in its private security program, known as the Screening Partnership Program.

The agency originally rejected SPP applications for both Orlando's Sanford and West Yellowstone's airports, but both facilities successfully reapplied.

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