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What You Should Know / July 4, 2011 -- Until 2001, commercial airlines were responsible for screening people and property at U.S. airports. That changed after al Qaeda terrorists boarded airplanes in Boston, Newark, and Washington, D.C., and attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. Congress created the Transportation Security Administration and directed it to take responsibility for airport screening. TSA's screening operations are funded, in part, by fees that the agency collects from airlines.

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