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Airline Security Search Rules Revised

The Transportation Security Administration announces changes to the way airline passengers are searched, including more random searches. Also, it updates the list of prohibited items aboard planes, allowing more sharp objects.

TSA Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley says he wants screeners to focus more attention on the most serious threats, such as explosives. That's why TSA is trimming the list of items passengers are banned from bringing on board, effective Dec. 22.

"We are opening a lot of bags to take away objects that do not pose a great risk," Hawley says.

Passengers will now be allowed to carry scissors with blades of four inches or less, and screwdrivers, wrenches and other tools, measuring seven inches or less. Hawley says these items account for about a quarter of the millions of things confiscated each year.

But flight attendants oppose the change, saying it threatens their safety. And Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) says he doesn't think it will do much to improve screeners' ability to detect explosives because of inadequate and obsolete screening technology currently in use. He says the answer is more and better explosive-detection equipment, which TSA is only gradually installing.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, where she covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues.