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Florida airport considers ditching TSA

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • 17 airports use private security
  • TSA must approve the company
  • Florida Congressman John Mica urges others to go private

Orlando, Florida (CNN) -- An Orlando, Florida, airport official wants to do away with the Transportation Security Administration and use a private firm to screen passengers.

Larry Dale, president of the Sanford Airport Authority in Orlando, is considering ditching TSA security personnel and replacing them with a private firm.

"Airports are size doesn't fit all," Dale told CNN's American Morning on Friday. Dale says his board and staff have been looking at other airports that provide their own security in preparation for making the switch at Orlando Sanford International Airport. Dale says his research shows that using a private security screening company would be "more efficient and more enjoyable to the public."

Dale's comments come during a week in which the TSA has been under fire for it's airport screening procedures, including imaging technology and pat downs. TSA is in charge of protecting the nation's transportation systems.

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Private airport security is not uncommon. The TSA lists 17 airports that are currently participating in its Screening Partnership Program. They include San Francisco International Airport, Kansas City International Airport, Greater Rochester International Airport and Key West International Airport. Participating airports work with TSA to hire an approved security contractor and must follow TSA security guidelines when screening passengers and baggage, according to the TSA website.

"All commercial airports are regulated by TSA whether the actual screening is performed by the TSA officers or private companies. The TSA sets the security standards that must be followed and includes the use of enhanced pat downs and imaging technology, if installed at the airport," said TSA spokesman Greg Soule.

Congressman John Mica, R-Florida, the ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, wrote a letter to the nation's 100 busiest airports urging them to ditch the TSA for private security.