Aviation and Transportation Security Act
The Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA, November 19, 2001) was enacted by the 107th United States Congress
107th United States Congress
The One Hundred Seventh United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 2001 to January 3, 2003, during the final...

 in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

. The Act created the Transportation Security Administration
Transportation Security Administration
The Transportation Security Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that exercises authority over the safety and security of the traveling public in the United States....

 (TSA) within the U.S. Department of Transportation. However, with the passage of the Homeland Security Act
Homeland Security Act
The Homeland Security Act of 2002, , 116 Stat. 2135 was introduced in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and subsequent mailings of anthrax spores. The HSA was cosponsored by 118 members of Congress. It was signed into law by President George W...

, the TSA was later transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. The legislation (S. 1447) was sponsored by Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings and co-sponsored by 30 other Senators.

Prior to ATSA, passenger screening was the responsibility of airlines, with the actual duties of operating the screening checkpoint contracted-out to private firms such as Wackenhut, Globe, and ITS.

Ticket counter agents were required to ask two questions of passengers checking luggage:
  • Have any of the items you're traveling with been out of your immediate control since the time you packed them?
  • Has anyone unknown to you asked you to carry an item aboard the aircraft?

Visitors had to pass through metal detectors and have their carry-on luggage X-rayed before entering the concourses. Boarding passes and photo ID were not required, as at that time the sterile concourse was still viewed as a public area.
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