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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
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TSA on High Alert Following Confrontation at Washington Airport

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a statement announcing that it remains on high alert following the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. 

As members of Congress traveled home after the riots and subsequent certification of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States, at least one Congressman was confronted by angry Trump supporters. A video of Democratic Rep. Lou Correa standing up to the man harassing him in the airport terminal has gone viral. While showing that members of Congress cannot be pushed around, the video may also unfortunately inspire other attacks, which may be more violent.

TSA is deploying additional law enforcement and canine presence at the three Washington, D.C.,-area airports – Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport. 

TSA screens travelers at airport security checkpoints who have a valid boarding pass and photo identification. TSA compares passenger information to the No Fly and Selectee List components of the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) to identify individuals who are known or suspected terrorists and, when warranted by security considerations, against other watch lists maintained by TSA or other federal agencies. This watch list prescreening, one of several important security measures in place to protect U.S. national and transportation security, takes place prior to the passenger’s arrival at the checkpoint. Individuals known to pose a threat to aviation who are on the No Fly list will not be issued a boarding pass and are not allowed to fly. 

Before departing office, Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that he instructed the U.S. Secret Service to begin the National Special Security Event operations for the 2021 Inauguration effective Wednesday, January 13. TSA traditionally supports the U.S. Secret Service by screening individuals who attend the event on the National Mall; however, this year’s event is expected to include more virtual events. TSA will maintain enhanced security at the three local airports. Travelers can also expect to see enhanced security presence with other transportation modes.

TSA’s statement follows the news that security will be tightened for members of Congress while they travel. The Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority and U.S. Air Marshals will increase security for congressional travel to and from Washington, according to a memo obtained by NBC News. Capitol Police will also be stationed at the airports through the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

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Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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