Protecting riders on mass transit systems from terrorist attacks will be as high a priority as ensuring safe air travel, the new head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) promised. In his first interview since taking over the TSA, John Pistole, a former FBI deputy director said some terrorists consider subway and rail cars an easier target than heavily secured planes. “Given the list of threats on subways and rails over the last six years going on seven years, we know that some terrorist groups see rail and subways as being more vulnerable because there’s not the type of screening that you find in aviation,” he said. “From my perspective, that is an equally important threat area.” The official took over the TSA July 1 after 26 years at the FBI. He said he wants to make the agency a full partner in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. He was deeply involved in high-profile terrorism investigations, including the Christmas Day bombing attempt and the attempted car bombing in New York City’s Times Square in May. The new TSA chief said he wants TSA workers, including 47,000 screeners at 450 airports, to operate as a “national-security, counterterrorism organization, fully integrated into U.S. government efforts.”

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