Former TSA Chief: LASP Proposal Based on Real Threats

 - May 8, 2012, 4:07 PM

The Transportation Security Administration’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), created in 2008, was based on actual risks and intelligence, Kip Hawley, the agency’s chief from 2005 to 2009, told AIN in an interview last week to promote his new book, Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security. “There was a real concern that a large business aviation aircraft would be used in an attack,” he recalled.

It was hard to come up with a balance between the TSA’s need for security and the industry’s needs, said Hawley. “Our primary concern was for incoming aircraft from overseas,” he said, “but the idea of screening people as they got on private jets didn’t make sense for the vast majority of airplanes.”

Hawley said it would have been better to focus on business aviation pilots. “If you knew who the pilot was, you could take that pilot’s proxy on who gets on the aircraft,” he observed. “Reducing [business aviation security] to a rule was a big problem.”

Instead, said Hawley, the TSA should have worked with the industry to figure it out together. “Using a regulatory approach brings problems for the industry and it doesn’t work for security or finding terrorists,” he stated. This time around, the agency is working with the industry to come up with a business aviation security plan and expects to release it later this year.