A TSA officer with the CAT unit at Westchester County Airport. (TSA)

More TSA Checkpoints Start Using Credential Authentication Technology

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at Westchester County Airport, Yeager Airport, and Akron-Canton Airport are now using new technology that confirms the validity of a traveler’s identification (ID) and confirms their flight information in near real time.

The credential authentication technology (CAT) units consist of a passport reader, an ID card reader, a federal personal identity verification ID card reader, a monitor, a stand and a UV light.  

Passengers should approach the travel document checking station at the checkpoint and hand their ID to the TSA officer for authentication. Passengers will not have to hand over their boarding pass (electronic or paper), thus reducing a touchpoint. The CAT will verify that the traveler is prescreened to travel out of the airport for a flight that day; however, a boarding pass may be requested for travelers under the age of 18 and/or those with ID issues.

Even with TSA’s use of CAT, travelers still need to check-in with their airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to their gate agent to show the airline representative before boarding their flight.

This technology will enhance detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent documents at the security checkpoint. 

CAT units authenticate several thousand types of IDs including passports, military common access cards, retired military ID cards, Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards, uniformed services ID cards, permanent resident cards, U.S. visas and driver’s licenses and photo IDs issued by state motor vehicle departments.

In addition, it is critical that travelers have their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or other acceptable form of identification by the Oct. 1, 2021, deadline. The CAT units will not accept a driver’s license after this date, if it is not REAL ID-compliant.

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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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