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Thursday, August 23, 2007

TSA Releases Statement on New Airport Screening Procedures

TSA Officials Tell Sikh Coalition that Turbans are an Example of Headwear that Could Conceal Threatening Items

The Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) released a statement on new airport screening procedures that authorize Sikh turban pat downs. TSA officials also told the Sikh Coalition today in Washington D.C. that it specifically included the turban as an example of a type of headwear that could potentially hide non-metallic threat items in a Guidance issued to 43,000 TSA screeners nationwide. The TSA did not provide the Sikh Coalition with a copy of the new screening procedure or the published Guidance on how to implement it.

The Coalition first brought this issue to the attention of the Sikh traveling public this past Sunday. The Sikh Coalition continues to be alarmed that these procedures were put in place without community consultation or warning to millions of Sikh air travelers. The Coalition is also concerned that TSA will not provide a copy of the new procedure so that it can be reviewed by the public.

We will continue to work with the federal government and fellow Sikh organizations to ensure that screening procedures keep America safe, while respecting the personal freedoms that are inherent in U.S. law and culture. [Sikh Coalition Press Release]

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