TSA introduces 'known-traveler' program

The Transportation Security Administration will unveil on Thursday a pilot version of a trusted traveler program that has been talked about as way to improve wait times at airport security, The Hill has learned.

TSA Administrator John Pistole made the announcement to a conference of aviation industry officials, saying the program would improve airport security.

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"These improvements will enable our officers to focus their efforts on higher-risk areas," said Pistole. "Enhancing identity-based screening is another common-sense step in the right direction as we continue to strengthen overall security, and improve the passenger experience whenever possible."

The program will be tested through a partnership with Customs and Border Protection, and on some domestic flights. It is scheduled to begin in the fall.

The announcement comes as lawmakers have harshly criticized TSA for its current airport security procedures, including controversial hand-searches known as pat-downs and full-body X-ray scanners.