Travelers at RSW experiencing more security screenings this weekend

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
TSA lines 9/11
Credit: WINK News

Travelers are expected to experience extra security at airports over the weekend due to Saturday being 20 years since 9/11.

WINK News witnessed many passengers going through additional screenings at the airport before boarding their flights. But TSA has been stepping up security measures for years in the wake of 9/11.

Right now at Southwest Florida International Airport, TSA agents are checking IDs at baggage at its checkpoints. But normal security measures have been taken to the next level. TSA Director Bob McLaughlin warned many to beware this week as  9/11 approaches.

“TSA is very strongly driven as well by like anniversary dates so we’re looking for 9/11. If you were to come back on 9/11 you may see a few things very differently than what you might see today and that’s only for awareness and deterrence,” McLauhglin said.

On Friday morning, TSA agents checked IDs and randomly searched passengers at the gate and as they boarded a Southwest flight here at RSW.

Mark Leyhey was traveling on Friday. “Seeing it here, it gives me a sense of security, additional security, and everyone’s being checked and it’s safe,” said Leyhey. “In light of the anniversary of 9/11 coming up, it’s good.”

Wes Thawley lives in Venice. “I think it’s good. Obviously, it’s kind of a sensitive time so it’s probably good to have a little extra security,” Thawley said.

Kimberly Summa says she was in New Jersey when 9/11 happened and watched the towers burn. “It was a shame. Maybe if they had ramped up and did more that wouldn’t have happened that day,” Summa said.

She says she’s grateful to see scenes like the security lines at RSW and in other places. “Maybe that will deter somebody from doing something else,” said Summa.

Several officers were also patrolling the airport on Friday. TSA says it is working with law enforcement, airport security and other agencies to ensure there is plenty of security for this weekend.

A TSA spokesperson answered a WINK News inquiry about the random ID checks and passenger searches at boarding gates:

“this is an example of random and unpredictable security and another layer of security that we have been conducting for years.  It had nothing to do with that particular flight.  Travelers could see this on any day of the year, at any gate, in any airport.”

The TSA has been on high alert every day since we were founded in the wake of 9/11.  The TSA is far more than checkpoint security.  We are a counterterrorism agency with many layers of security, both seen and unseen.  On 9/11 we do assure that we are seen – even more visible – to those who would still want to do us harm.  TSA continues to work with our law enforcement partners, sister agencies and airport security as a force multiplier against terrorism on 9/11 and every day of the year to keep you safe.”

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