July 18th, 2012
US agents to operate in British airports
(SteveWatson) – The TSA is branching out beyond it’s own borders as officers are to be stationed at BRITISH airports during the Olympic games, scheduled to begin in just over a week.
The federal agents working under the authority of the US Department of Homeland Security will operate within London’s major airports from a week before the games, up until the conclusion of the Paralympics in early September.
The TSA, working in conjunction with the British Department for Transport, will reportedly provide “an added security layer” with a particular focus on the American airlines flying to and from London’s airports, according to Sky News.
According to the report, TSA agents will be prohibited from straying beyond boarding gates or onto other aircraft.
It is unclear whether the agents will be allowed to conduct patdowns on non Americans or operate full body scanners inside the airports.
A spokesman for London Heathrow airport has noted “The US Transportation Security Administration requested, some time ago, to base a small number of staff at Heathrow and other UK airports to assist the additional numbers of US passengers travelling to and from the UK ahead of the Olympics.”
“‘We agreed to give them access at Heathrow.” he added.
A British DfT spokesman also said “The Department for Transport is in regular contact with the US Transportation Security Administration and we have been planning Olympics liaison arrangements with the Americans for several months.”
The spokesman would not go into more detail, saying that “The Department does not comment on the precise details of security matters.”
He added that “…these arrangements have nothing whatsoever to do with G4S issue.”
G4S is the private contractor that is overseeing the security for the games. It has been heavily criticized following a number of security lapses and the fact that it has only been able to provide 4000 trained personnel, prompting the government to draft an extra 3,500 troops to London, bringing the total to 17,000 – almost a fifth of the entire army.
Since its inception in the US after 9/11, the TSA has grown in size exponentially. The agency was slammed in a recent congressional report for wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on security theatre.
TSA agents now not only operate inside airports, but also in train stations, at mobile checkpoints, and even at public events such as sports games and music concerts.
Now it seems that TSA agents that have become synonymous with aggressive pat downs and thuggish behaviour in the US will be let loose in Britain.