TSA has created a watch list of individuals who have engaged
in disruptive or aggressive behavior at airport screening checkpoints.
The list, the existence of which TSA confirmed Thursday
after it was revealed in a New York Times article, currently has less than 50
people on it, according to the agency.
"This applies no additional screening to the
individual," Darby LaJoye, TSA's assistant administrator for security
operations, told lawmakers at a hearing of the House homeland security
subcommittee Thursday. "It's simply an awareness that somebody is going
through the checkpoint that has demonstrated concerning, assaultive behavior in
the past to our officers."
According to the New York Times, the watch list was
established in February. A five-page directive that the Times said it obtained,
and that was signed in March by LaJoye, says that behavior posing physical
danger to screeners can get people listed. So can other behavior, such as
loitering near security checkpoints.
The revelation of the list, which LaJoye said is the only
one the TSA keeps other than the no-fly list, raised questions about civil
In questioning before the House subcommittee Thursday,
LaJoye said that people aren't informed when they are put on the list.
Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) questioned the merits of such
secrecy, saying that it would serve as more of a deterrent if people did know
that they were listed.
"It would be a great if they were on the list if they
had the chance to appeal that in case there was some subjective determination,"
In an emailed statement, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said
that TSA published a privacy impact assessment prior to publishing the list.
"In FY 2017, there were more than 34 assaults on TSA
officers," she wrote. "TSA is committed to its people and wants to
ensure there are safeguards in place to protect TSA officers and others from
any individual who has previously exhibited disruptive or assaultive behavior
at a screening checkpoint and is scheduled to fly."