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TSA officials commemorate 20th anniversary of the federalization of Ithaca Tompkins International Airport

ITHACA, N.Y.—  Officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) commemorated the 20th anniversary of the federalization of Ithaca Tompkins International Airport today.

Guiding Eyes photo

The airport launched under TSA security oversight 20 years ago, on Sept. 12, 2002, when the security checkpoint was first staffed by federal TSA officers one year after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) became law in November 2001, formally establishing the TSA. That fall, TSA consisted of about 100 people working at folding tables in the basement of Department of Transportation national office. Today, 20 years later, there are 430 federalized airports and a workforce of about 60,000 employees nationwide. TSA has a staff of approximately 20 employees who are assigned to work at Ithaca of which three of them have been working at Ithaca since the airport was federalized.

“The Transportation Security Administration was created 20 years ago approximately one year after the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”   said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Ithaca Tompkins International Airport and 12 other airports situated across the state.  “The mission of the TSA is to protect our nation’s transportation system by outmatching a threat that has evolved since September 11.” 

From the initial federalization as a TSA airport 20 years ago until the present day, the “TSA team at Ithaca has focused on this mission each and every day and is executing it using state-of-the-art equipment by a professional and well trained workforce to prevent another terrorist attack from occurring,” Johnson said.

ITH terminal photo

“I consider myself to be very fortunate to work with such a dedicated group of TSA employees. We are also fortunate to have forged such strong partnerships with Tompkins County, the Air Service Board, airport officials, the airlines and local law enforcement, which has further strengthened and improved our security posture,” Johnson said.

In the intervening years since launching, TSA has developed and implemented strong security procedures, built a well-trained and highly skilled professional workforce, and introduced a wide array of state-of-the-art technologies to screen passengers, baggage and cargo.

Guided by an intelligence-based approach, today TSA is at the forefront of security technology and innovation. Technologies such as computed tomography, credential authentication technology and advanced imaging technology have greatly improved TSA’s detection and identity verification capabilities in ways the initial group of TSA employees could have only imagined 20 years ago.


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