TSA opens new pre-check office at RDU

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The Transportation Security Administration has launched its new pre-check program at Raleigh Durham International. (WTVD)

The Transportation Security Administration has launched its new pre-check program at Raleigh Durham International.

Officials say TSA Precheck saves you time when you're flying - you don't have to remove some items like your shoes and belts, and comes as security is tightening in wake of terror attacks and the threat of more.

However, the TSA says it also helps with national security, despite allowing some passengers to get through screening faster.

RDU's TSA Precheck Enrollment Center opened quietly a few weeks ago, but Thursday was its official launch.

It is one of 150 airports in the country that offers the screening program.

If you're approved, you won't have to remove shoes, laptops, belts, light outerwear or allowed liquids when you go through the security checkpoint.

Here's how TSA Precheck works: First, you must complete a pre-enrollment process online at http://www.tsa.gov/

Then you'll visit an application center in person. There, you'll be fingerprinted and provide more information.

TSA conducts a thorough background check. If you're approved, you'll be issued a known traveler number to be used for your flight reservations.

TSA says this strengthens security.

"TSA Precheck actually strengthens security by allowing us to prescreen those in the program," U.S. Department of Homeland Security TSA Sari Koshetz said. "It gives us more time to research those we know less about."

When I asked, TSA wouldn't expand much on that background check, but did say it includes checking the terrorist watch list and no fly list.

It does cost $85 for a five-year membership. Nearly 2 million travelers have enrolled in the program.

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