Revised airport screening for kids coming

Sept. 13, 2011 at 4:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday less invasive airport screening procedures will be introduced for children.

In a few months, most children under 12 will not have to take off their shoes and will undergo less frequent and revised patdowns by the Transportation Security Administration, she said. Napolitano promised "additional training for a different patdown for [children] and also ... allowing them to keep their shoes on."

Napolitano spoke before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs on the topic, "Ten Years After 9/11: Are We Safer?"

"While America is stronger and more resilient as a result of these efforts to strengthen the homeland security enterprise, threats from terrorism persist and continue to evolve," Napolitano said in prepared remarks. "Today's threats do not come from any one individual or group. They may originate in distant lands or local neighborhoods. They may be as simple as a homemade bomb or as sophisticated as a biological threat or coordinated cyberattack."

She added, "Increasingly, state, local and tribal law enforcement officers, as well as citizens, businesses, and communities are on the front lines of detection and prevention. Protecting the nation is a shared responsibility and everyone can contribute by staying informed and aware of the threats the country faces. Homeland security starts with hometown security -- and we all have a role to play."

Napolitano said progress has been made on a number of recommendations from the Sept. 11 Commission report, including:

-- Expanding information sharing among U.S. agencies.

-- Developing and implementing risk-based transportation security strategies.

-- Strengthening airline passenger pre-screening and targeting terrorist travel.

-- Enhancing screening for explosives.

-- Strengthening efforts to detect and report chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

-- Protecting cyber networks and critical physical infrastructure.

-- Bolstering the security of U.S. borders and identification documents.

-- Ensuring robust privacy and civil rights and civil liberties safeguards.

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