TSA PreCheck enrollment tops 1.5 million

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Monday that 1.5 million people have signed up for its PreCheck known-traveler program. 

The program, which is part of the agency's move to "risk-based" security techniques, allows airline passengers to volunteer information to the agency in exchange for the possibility of receiving expedited screenings.

Participants pay an $85 dollar fee that covers five years of expedited screening. Pre-approved passengers are usually able to keep wearing shoes and belts at airport security checkpoints. 

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The agency said Monday that topping 1.5 million enrollees is a big milestone for the PreCheck program, which was first implemented in 2011. 

“Through our intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to aviation security we can adapt and stay ahead of evolving threats,” TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said in a statement. 

“We are pleased to announce this milestone as growing the trusted traveler population allows us to focus on high-risk, unknown passengers," Neffenger continued. "The popularity of TSA PreCheck among travelers is evident in the robust enrollment rates we’ve experienced since the inception of the program.”

The TSA has been criticized for offering too many free trials of the PreCheck program as it was trying to build enrollment, but the agency has said it is cutting back on the giveaways as more passengers are signing up for the program.

The agency came under fire in 2014 for reportedly clearing a "notorious" felon for expedited screening.