The effort, known as the Screening Partnership Program, allowed airports to hire TSA-regulated private screeners rather than employ Transportation Security Officers. In the memo, Pistole noted that only 16 airports (of the approximately 450 eligible) had opted to participate in SPP even though the program has been available since the agency was established.
“I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time,” Pistole said. Current SPP members will be allowed to keep their private screeners, he said.
The American Federation of Government Employees applauded the move.
“The nation is secure in the sense that the safety of our skies will not be left in the hands of the lowest-bidder contractor, as it was before 9/11,” AFGE President John Gage said. “We applaud Administrator Pistole for recognizing the value in a cohesive federalized screening system and workforce.”