Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

CLEAR returns to Denver International Airport, backed by ex-cabinet official Michael Chertoff

CLEAR is back in business at Denver International Airport, helping ease travelers through the trauma of those invasive security procedures for just $179 a year.

And who -- besides the prudy-pants traveler -- benefits? How about former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, a fan of the full-body scan who's now on the board of CLEAR.

The company that originally ran CLEAR went bankrupt in 2009, and AlClear bought the remains out of bankruptcy. Initially, CLEAR was to be reintroduced in Denver, but instead it debuted in Orlando last month. Today, however, company officials will be showing off its two new CLEAR stations at Denver International Airport -- and selling memberships.

Billing itself as the "original Registered Traveler program," CLEAR uses a biometric-based secure ID procedure -- it scans its members eyeballs and records fingerprints -- to get passengers through the initial document check. After that, they still must go through TSA security -- which, increasingly, includes the full-body scan Chertoff has touted for years.

And Chertoff, who also runs Chertoff Group, a security consulting agency, has come under fire for representing a company that makes the machines responsible for executing the full-body scans he recommends.

Scans that you'll still be subject to, even if you pay $179 for a CLEAR membership.


More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "TSA junk-touching wardrobe guide: DIA security calls out the fashion police."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun