TSA Is Using a
Threat-Based Approach to General Aviation Security
TSA analyzes credible intelligence information to determine and prioritize the existing threats. The Office of Intelligence, which has primary responsibility for assessing potential terrorist threats, has conducted an extensive evaluation of threats that would affect or involve the GA industry.9 OI has identified several organizations that have shown an interest in using GA to obtain flight training or to launch attacks, and OI continues to monitor reports of activity by these organizations. OI also assesses how aircraft, ranging from helicopters to large aircraft, might be used to launch an attack, including how a terrorist might gain access and what damage could be inflicted. In addition to foreign terrorist organizations, OI assesses the potential of less traditional threats, such as narcotics traffickers and domestic terrorist groups targeting jets of specific corporations.
Although OI has identified potential threats, it has concluded that most GA aircraft are too light to inflict significant damage, and has not identified specific imminent threats from GA aircraft. OI has also concluded that there is no credible threat of crop-dusting aircraft being used to spread chemical or biological agents. However, OI noted that various intelligence sources have identified helicopters as aircraft of ongoing interest to terrorists. OI also stated that the potential for a terrorist group to use GA aircraft to conduct an attack remains a possibility that cannot be ignored.
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