WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration keeps a list of travelers who have assaulted officers at airport checkpoints in the past, officials told a House hearing Thursday.

The list has fewer than 50 names on it, according to Darby LaJoye, TSA’s assistant administrator for security operations.

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The list isn’t used to tighten screening for those travelers, but to warn federal security directors at airports that the person may be approaching on a given day, he told the House Homeland Security subcommittee on transportation security.

“We were seeing an alarming increase in the number of assaults against our officers,” LaJoye said. “There is no additional screening being applied to these individuals. It simply means to communicate that a passenger may be arriving at the airport and they’ve either demonstrated a history of assaulting officers or in trying to circumvent some sort of security procedure.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., questioned the policy after reading about it in The New York Times and asked TSA to provide the written directive that created the list.

“I am concerned about the civil-liberty implications of such a list,” she said.

LaJoye said he would provide lawmakers with more details about the list in writing. But he distinguished the list from other no-fly lists because this list doesn’t prevent travel or designate the person for additional screening.

“It’s simply an awareness that somebody is going through the checkpoint that has demonstrated concerning or assaultive behavior in the past to our officers,” LaJoye said.

Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., suggested that TSA should notify travelers who are on the list.

“I would think it would be more effective as a deterrent if these people knew they were on the list," Keating said. “It might affect their behavior."

Watson Coleman summarized the list as, “It’s like: be prepared.”

EPA USA NEW YORK TSA EBF TRANSPORTATION USA NY
An employee (L) of the Transportation Security Administration looks at a monitor on a new checkpoint with automated screening lanes at Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York on May 17, 2017.
ANDREW GOMBERT, EPA