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July 07, 2011

Thompson, Homeland Security Democrats Introduce Boarding Pass Security Legislation

(WASHINGTON) – Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, along with five Democratic members of the Committee, introduced the False Travel Documents Prohibition Act of 2011 (H.R. 2431). The recent incident involving a passenger who was able to board a flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) using a boarding pass and identification that were not his own has highlighted a security vulnerability in commercial aviation. The passenger, Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, was apprehended days later, while trying to board another flight and with at least 15 other invalid travel documents in his possession.

H.R. 2431, the False Travel Documents Prohibition Act of 2011 is a companion measure to legislation that Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) has introduced for three congresses (S. 2845 – 111th Congress). Specifically, the bill would amend Federal law to make it a crime for an individual to knowingly possess, produce, or transfer a false or invalid travel document—e.g. a boarding pass, rail ticket, or airplane ticket. This will ensure that an individual that presents a false boarding pass is subject to the same criminal penalties as an individual who knowingly presents a false driver's license, passport or other identification at the airport checkpoint. Additionally, the bill requires the Transportation Security Administration to provide recurring training to its workforce to help identify fraudulent identifications and boarding passes.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement on H.R. 2431: "Our bill properly changes the law so that a person who knowingly presents an invalid boarding pass to TSA is subject to the same criminal penalties as are required for presenting a fake driver's license. The boarding pass incident, together with TSA's recent alert about potential body bombs, brings into focus that – nearly ten years after 9/11 – the terrorist threat continues to evolve and emphasizes the need for a vigilant and adaptive federal aviation security system."

Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Committee's Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies Subcommittee added the following statement: "I commend Ranking Member Thompson for introducing this important piece of legislation in the House. As a representative from New York City, I understand the heightened sense of security since the September 11, 2001 attacks. That is why it is critical to ensure that we hold travelers accountable who use fraudulent identification and papers in order to keep our nation safe. I look forward to working with the rest of my colleagues to make this legislation law."

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Ranking Member of the Committee's Transportation Security Subcommittee released the following statement on the legislation: "The American people demand the highest level of aviation safety and security, and this legislation will provide the Transportation Security Administration and the law enforcement community with the necessary tools to further deter emerging threats and to protect the homeland."

Representatives Brian Higgins (D-NY), Kathleen C. Hochul (D-NY), and Jackie Speier (D-CA) also co-sponsored the legislation.

Legislative Information Bill Factsheet

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Media Contact:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
(Clarke) Judith Kargbo at 202-225-6231
(Jackson-Lee) Drew Stout 202-225-3816