TSA: Seven years after Osama bin Laden’s death, we’re keeping you safe, with your help

A message from David Pekoske, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that appeared in USA Today on May 2, 2018.

Seven years ago today, U.S. Special Operations Forces killed Osama bin Laden, who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on our homeland, and although he may be gone, the terrorist threat remains real to this day.

Born out of the 9/11 attacks, the Transportation Security Administration continues to monitor intelligence information that indicates there are bad actors who wish to do harm to our transportation system and the American people. But make no mistake, it’s not going to be on our watch.

Last week, I released a new TSA strategy, which will guide the agency through our 25th anniversary in 2026. With this strategy, we focus on safeguarding all modes of transportation while continuing to support the dedicated men and women of TSA. But equally important, we look to our partners to share our commitment to safety and security.

Transportation security is a collective effort and all of us have a role to play. We work collaboratively with transportation partners, whether they be airlines, airports, mass transit providers, railroads, law enforcement or other surface transportation providers. But they are not our only security partners. TSA also looks toward travelers to be our partners in security as well.

TSA just set yet another screening record during the 2018 spring break travel season, with more than 72 million airline passengers and nearly 45 million checked bags screened nationwide — a 5% increase from the same period in 2017. These record-setting passengers who arrived at airport terminals to get away for their vacations, as well as those who bought train tickets to travel the rails across our beautiful country, or tapped a smart card to enter a subway or bus system are also our security partners.

And we ask you, the traveling public, to be vigilant, to let the authorities know if you see something out of place, out of the ordinary, something that just doesn’t seem to fit in at the airport, the subway system, the train station or the cruise ship. You’ve heard it before: “See something, say something.” We are counting on you to participate in OUR security.

We know that the vast majority of air passengers pose no threat, however there are some who do want to cause us harm — and we work around the clock to stop them. So we ask you to partner with TSA by knowing what you can and cannot carry in your bags and be sure to follow the instructions of the TSA officer at the checkpoint if you have questions. All of these simple steps allow TSA officers to focus their attention on seeking out and identifying threats that could result in a catastrophic event.

TSA is committed to the security of the public as we vigilantly carry out the mission entrusted to us. We may be able to look back at the success of the May 2, 2011, special operations team in eliminating bin Laden, but we remain motivated to be continuously focused and dedicated to protect the nation’s transportation systems and our citizens who rely on those systems.

We are here to ensure you get to your destination securely, and we are grateful to our industry stakeholders and the public for partnering with us to do so.

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