March 24, 2004
A consolidated terrorist screening database will be available to government agencies by the end of the month, according to a high-ranking Transportation Security Administration official. TSA acting administrator David Stone, testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said the administration has the authority to require airlines to provide necessary passenger data, despite the carriers' reluctance to disclose such information due to privacy concerns. Representative John K. Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the aviation subcommittee, criticized the TSA's program. "Unfortunately hundreds of millions of Americans who travel by air each year are currently subjected to a passenger-profiling and screening system that lacks common sense," he said. "We currently have what I call a 'Las Vegas roulette' passenger-profiling and screening system, whose chances of detecting a terrorist are less than finding a needle in a haystack."