Airline bailouts, security lapses and false alarms
Note: The subsection about the airline bailouts of 2001 has been moved
to this page.
Security lapses, screener issues and false alarms:
screenings fail to spot weapons most of the time, agency says. An undercover operation has revealed that
Transportation Security Administration screenings at airports fail for the most part. Homeland Security investigators
found that, more than 70 percent of the time, undercover officers were able to get through TSA checkpoints with mock knives,
guns and explosives, the House Homeland Security Committee was told Wednesday. Just two years ago, testing found a 95 percent
failure rate, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. "We found that briefing disturbing," said Michael McCaul,
chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The DHS Office of Inspector General made eight classified recommendations
based on the undercover operation. In a statement, the TSA said it took the "OIG findings very seriously and are implementing
measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints."
take Somali "community leaders" on an exclusive airport-security tour? In his March 29, 2016 Star Tribune
story, Stephen Montemayor reported in passing that local imams and Muslim "community leaders" had received a "behind-the-scenes
security tour" in February last year at MSP. Montemayor mentioned the tour when he noted that Hassan Mohamud — also
known as "Sheikh Hassan," an imam working as a legal assistant for one of the defendants — had been "uninvited"
from the tour. What was that tour for Muslims only all about? I asked MSP spokesman Patrick Hogan, who Hogan
referred me to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agencies
under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A TSA spokesman denied knowledge (wrongly, as it
it a Muslim who breached security at Miami International Airport? Pretending to talk on a cellphone, a man at
Miami International Airport was caught on video jumping onto a luggage carousel on Saturday. If you pause the video
below at 0:21, you can get a good look at his bearded face. The footage shows him casually strolling past an empty
security checkpoint at the American Airlines ticket counter and then diving into a luggage conveyor belt.
Minneapolis airport fails 95 percent of security
tests, sources say. When put to the test, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport failed 95 percent of
security tests conducted at the airport last week, according to Fox 9 sources. Last Thursday [6/29/2017], what's
referred to as the "Red Team" in town from Washington D.C., posed as passengers and attempted to sneak items through
security that should easily be caught. In most cases, they succeeded in getting the banned items though. 17 out of
18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected.
93 Hijacker Entered US 7 Times — on 'Tourist' Visa. On the face of it, [Ziad] Jarrah was a clean-cut
young man from a wealthy Muslim family in Lebanon, who had moved to Germany to be a student — and only wanted to
visit this free and beautiful country as a tourist. In reality, he was an al-Qaida operative dispatched by Osama bin
Laden to carry out the worst terrorist attack in the history of our nation. In the 15 months before 9/11, Jarrah came
and went from the United States at will — entering this country on deceitful terms no less than seven times.
After his first entry, according to a staff report of the 9/11 Commission, he instantly violated the terms of his visa.
Yet, again and again, he was welcomed at U.S. airports and granted entry to the United States.
took off with erratic passenger despite red flags. A man acted strangely long before he caused a disturbance on
a plane that prompted fighter jets to accompany it to Hawaii, but a lack of communication and an airline's hesitancy to be
caught on video booting a passenger could have played a role in allowing him to fly, experts say. Anil Uskanli, 25, of
Turkey, had purchased a ticket at an airline counter in the middle of the night with no luggage and had been arrested after
opening a door to a restricted airfield at Los Angeles International Airport.
people get through TSA checkpoint without screening at JFK: Report. Eleven people got through security without being screened
Monday morning [2/20/2017] at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to an NBC News report. Transportation Security
Administration officials in Terminal 5 left a security lane open and unmanned, allowing 11 people to walk through without being
checked, officials told NBC. A review of the surveillance footage showed that three people set off metal detectors but proceeded
through security without question, NBC reported.
man found with pipe bomb in his luggage is allowed to fly only days later. 43-year-old Nadeem Muhammed was
boarding a Ryanair flight with a pipe bomb in his luggage, but was allowed to fly a few days later. According to a
report on Jihad Watch, he was arrested by police on suspicion of terrorism after "batteries wrapped in brown tape" was found
in his bag. However, he was released on bail and allowed to travel after allegedly telling officers the device had been
planted by someone else.
teen who killed priest passed background check for airport job. A French Islamic State fanatic who ended up
murdering a Catholic priest "easily" passed a police investigation to become an airport baggage handler, it was revealed
today [7/29/2016]. Abdelmalik Petitjean and Adel Kermiche, both 19, were on terrorist watchlists when they slit Father
Jacques Hamel's throat in Normandy on Tuesday. Now it has emerged that Petitjean worked full-time at Chambery airport
in the Savoie region, which is used by more than 250,000 passengers a year including many Britons, until just three months
ago. He started as a porter there in December after completing his baccalaureate at the Marlioz high school in nearby
Aix-les-Bains, where he lived.
How Safe Is Your Airport?
Airport security is severely lacking in many locations around the world, and yesterday's [6/28/2016] attack at Istanbul's
Ataturk Airport showed how vulnerable Europe's third airport was. Europe's public airports areas are relatively open
compared with some facilities in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia where travelers and their documents are checked
before they even enter the airport building. [...] "If you provide a system of security circles, your ability to locate a
passenger that is supposed to be suspicious is six kilometers before he entered the terminal building," said Pini Schiff,
the head of security chief at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel's international airport located close to Tel Aviv.
accused of war crimes in Somalia. Now he works security at a U.S. airport. An accused war criminal living
in the United States is now working as a security guard at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC. A CNN
investigation found that Yusuf Abdi Ali, who is accused of committing atrocities while he was a military commander during
Somalia's brutal civil war, has been living a quiet life near the nation's capital for about 20 years. He is
just one of more than 1,000 accused war criminals living and working in the United States.
Islamic terrorists infiltrate U.S. airport security. The fact that a Somali Muslim war criminal booted from
Canada could somehow land a job at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., appears shocking on its face —
but at least six dozen other employees with suspected terror links have been caught working at U.S. airports. A CNN
investigation found that Yusuf Abdi Ali, who is accused of committing atrocities while he was a military commander during
Somalia's civil war, has been living a quiet suburban life in posh Alexandria, Virginia, for about 20 years, CNN reported.
Gurion: the world's most secure airport? As security concerns mount at international airports, more security
officials are turning to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport to understand what it does differently. The
airport, considered one of the safest in the world, has layers of security, only partially visible to the 16 million
passengers who pass through every year.
breach US airport fences every 10 days, report says. Under pressure to prevent people from sneaking onto
runways and planes at major U.S. airports, authorities are cracking down not on the intruders who slip through perimeter
gates or jump over fences, but on the release of information about the breaches.
delayed when math mistaken for terrorism by passenger. American Airlines confirms that a woman expressed
suspicions about University of Pennsylvania economics professor Guido Menzio. He was flying from Philadelphia to
Syracuse on Thursday [5/5/2016] to give a talk at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada. He was working on a
differential equation, but said he was told the woman thought he might be a terrorist because of what he was writing. [...]
Menzio told the paper he was troubled by the women's ignorance as well as "a security protocol that is too rigid —
in the sense the once the whistle is blown everything stops without checks — and relies on the input of people who
may be completely clueless."
The Editor says...
At least two factors led to this situation: (1) The poorly educated masses don't recognize math symbols and
nomenclature when they see them, and (2) everybody at the airport is suspicious of everybody else.
Airport Security Gap: Screen Workers. The Senate has passed an aviation security bill requiring tougher
vetting of airport workers to thwart attacks on airports like the bombings in Brussels. Obama should waste no time
signing this bill.
3 US Airports Screen Employees Daily Before Work. At Senate Commerce Committee session, lawmakers heard that
only three airports in the United States require their employees to undergo a security check before they begin their work
day. "Atlanta, Miami, Orlando. What about the other 297 airports nationwide?" asked committee co-chair Senator Bill
Nelson (D-Florida). TSA (Transportation Security Administration) head Robert Neffenger answered that while the TSA has
"increased the inspection of employees five-fold in the last five months," more needs to be done. Neffenger said that
all airports were asked to provide a report by the end of the month assessing their vulnerabilies.
3 U.S. Airports Require Employee Security Checks. Less than a month after a news outfit reported that dozens of
airport employees around the country have potential ties to terrorists, officials from the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) admit that only three airports in the United States require workers to undergo security checks. The astounding
admission, delivered this week before Congress, comes on the heels of a number of cases involving gun and drug-smuggling
schemes operated by airline employees at major airports, including those located in Atlanta, New York and San Francisco.
least Fifty ISIS supporters are working as baggage handlers, cleaners and catering staff at Brussels airport, claim
police. Police at Brussels airport have claimed at least 50 Islamic State supporters are working there as
baggage handlers, cleaners and catering staff. In an astonishing open letter, the officers said they have warned about
the terrorist sympathisers whose security badges give them access to planes, but they remain employed. The airport
police, who are threatening to go on strike because of security deficiencies, also said they have raised the issue of
terrorists scouting the airport to plan possible attacks.
ISIS sympathizers working at Brussels airport, warns police union. As many as 50 ISIS supporters have infiltrated the same
Brussels airport where terror attacks occurred last month, working as cleaners, caterers and baggage handlers and positioning themselves
for new attacks, the Belgian police union warned in an open letter to the government. "Even today, there are at least 50 supporters
of ISIS who work at the airport," read the letter from union secretary Alain Peeters to the Belgian Interior Ministry and reported by the
Daily Mail. "They have a security badge and have access to the cockpit of a plane."
Orders Coke Bust Flight Attendant Back to California. The flight attendant who allegedly ditched $3 million worth of cocaine at
the Los Angeles airport and went on the run will be flying back to California in the custody of U.S. Marshals. A federal judge in New York,
where former beauty queen Marsha Gay Reynolds had surrendered, had approved a $500,000 bail package for her on Thursday [3/24/2016], but prosecutors
attendant leaves 70 pounds of coke at TSA checkpoint. Normally, flight crews using that gate get minimal scrutiny.
But the nervous drug mule got unlucky — and was randomly chosen to have her bags inspected. Realizing she was on the
brink of being busted, cops said the female flight attendant got nervous. She used her cell phone to make a call to someone,
speaking in a language that the agents did not recognize as English or Spanish. As security escorted her the front of the
screening area, she finally came to the conclusion that the jig was up — and took off running, according to police.
She made it about 15 feet with her carry-on bags before ditching them — leaving behind a large cache of dope.
Brilliant: NYC Airport Allowed
International Flights to Arrive Without Going Through Customs. Over the weekend the New York Daily News reported that,
"JFK allowed passengers arriving on international flight to exit without going through Customs". Reading through the article, one finds
that it wasn't just customs that was bypassed, meaning that any contraband articles got through; it was also the immigration checks, meaning
not only that excludable aliens got through, but that even legitimate nonimmigrant travelers are now free to roam around the United States
without any official limits to their stay — in fact, without any official record that they ever entered.
Guard dogs without teeth: Guidance to unarmed aviation police: Run
and hide. Hundreds of police officers at one of the country's busiest airports say in the case of an active shooter, they
are instructed to run and hide. That's because these officers are unique among the nation's major airports: They don't carry
guns. Their badges, uniforms and vehicles all say "police." And they are certified police officers in the state of Illinois.
But these nearly 300 aviation police officers, also known as aviation security officers, are not allowed to carry guns at Chicago's O'Hare
and Midway airports.
Airport Police Told To 'Run And Hide' During Active Shooter Situation. The nearly 300 unarmed police officers
patrolling Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports have been told to "run and hide" during active shootings. Internal
aviation department documents obtained by CNN instruct officers not "to become part of the response" to an attack. "If
evacuation is not possible, you should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Block entry
to your hiding place and lock the door," but Matt Brandon, secretary-treasurer of the airport officers union, told CNN they
have serious issues with the protocol.
Paris Airport Workers Are On Terror Watch List. The Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris has forced France to
examine its security policies, including at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, where it was recently discovered that 57 employees
who had access to airplanes and runways were on a terror watch list. Now, the security passes of 86,000 workers at the Paris
airport will be reviewed, according to a report by the Sunday Times of London.
Shock: 'Crew Can Be Infiltrated'. The downing of a Russian jet in Egypt's Sinai Desert on Oct. 31 by the
Islamic State group has exposed gaping holes in U.S. airport security. Authorities say a local baggage handler at Sharm
el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt planted a bomb inside a soda can that killed all 224 passengers aboard Metrojet
Airbus 321-200. The revelation has sparked renewed scrutiny of a June 4 report by the Department of Homeland Security,
which found 73 aviation workers employed by airlines and vendors had alleged ties to terrorism. Risk management expert
Vernon L. Grose told WND on Monday that U.S. airport security is still woefully lacking 14 years after the Sept. 11,
2001, terror attacks.
Airlines officials allow passengers on a flight from Mexico to skip customs and leave JFK airport. Officials
allowed passengers arriving from Mexico to skip customs and leave John F. Kennedy airport without having their passports or
bags checked — days after ISIS threatened an attack on New York City. The incident involved American Airlines
Flight 1671, which landed in the city from Cancun at 8.50pm on Friday [11/20/2015]. A spokesman for the airline told Daily
Mail Online that there had been 74 passengers on the flight and 'some' passengers did not go through immigration or customs
before leaving the airport — although declined to reveal an exact figure.
talks her way past security, enters cockpit of plane at Illinois airport. A woman was
able to talk her way past a security guard at an Illinois airport Wednesday and enter the cockpit of
a private plane before she was caught and taken to a hospital for psychiatric observation,
authorities said. Sauget, Illinois police say the 38-year-old St. Louis woman entered a
20-seat Global Express plane on the tarmac of the St. Louis Downtown Airport about 4 a.m.
air traffic controller found shirtless, unconscious on floor of control tower. OK,
raise your hand if you've ever had the kind of night out that stretches into the next morning, the
kind where you don't greet the new day as much as you just try not to barf on its shoes? And keep
those hands up if you've ever stumbled into work still drunk, taken your shirt off and then passed
out facedown in your own office? Just you, Philip Maschek? The 50-year-old Arkansas air traffic
controller was arrested after one of his coworkers found him unconscious on the floor of the control tower
at the Springdale Municipal Airport last Thursday morning [7/16/2015] (the police report says he was found
"passed out in his chair with his shirt off" — either way, it's not good).
Airport Security Badges Missing as Pols Demand Answers. Washington lawmakers are demanding an accounting of
how many airport security badges have been lost or stolen around the country as an NBC News investigation reveals the
problem may be bigger than originally thought. "Clearly there are an awful lot of things falling through the cracks
and there's just no room for error when it comes to this issue. We need answers. They're not providing them,"
said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who chairs the Transportation Committee.
Computer expert briefly made plane fly sideways. A computer security expert hacked
into a plane's in-flight entertainment system and made it briefly fly sideways by telling one of the
engines to go into climb mode. Chris Roberts of One World Labs in Denver was flying on the plane
at the time it turned sideways, according to an FBI search warrant filed in April.
Safety Inspector Arrested After Allegedly Flying With Gun in Bag. A Federal Aviation
Administration safety inspector was arrested at New York's LaGuardia Airport after a firearm was
allegedly found in his carry-on bag at the security checkpoint, the TSA announced today [1/17/2015].
The TSA said in a statement it was investigating along with the FAA and the Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey Police Department.
with a future terrorist at MSP Airport. The Fox 9 Investigators learned that of three
men recruited from Minnesota to fight for either ISIS or al-Shabaab all once held jobs at the
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and each hold security clearances that gave them access
to parts of the airport a traveler will never see. When exactly these men were radicalized is
unclear. The good news: It doesn't appear the airport was ever their intended target.
The bad news: Experts fear that scenario may be just a matter of time.
Airport baggage handlers booked on theft
charges after guns, electronics go missing from luggage. Three baggage handlers at Louis Armstrong International Airport were
arrested Thursday (Sept. 24) in connection with the theft of guns and electronics from checked luggage, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's
Office said in a news release. Neishel Santana, 22 was booked on charges of theft and possession of stolen property. Derrin James,
19, was booked on two counts of theft of a firearm. Romalice Honeycutt, 23, was booked on a charge of being a principal to theft of
a firearm. They were caught after Dallas law enforcement, investigating the theft of a laptop from luggage on an American Airlines
flight out of New Orleans, found out through a pawn-shop database that the computer had been sold at Jefferson Parish pawn shop and contacted
officers aren't too good at spotting fake photos. If you've been lucky enough to enjoy
a vacation this summer, you've most likely handed your photo ID over to a TSA agent (or your own
country's equivalent). But according to a study published Monday in PLOS ONE, endless practice
hasn't turned them into human passport-scanning machines. In fact, the people responsible for checking
photo identification all day might not be any better at recognizing a mismatched face than you are.
Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID, Says Border Patrol Union. Illegal aliens are being allowed to fly on
commercial airliners without valid identification, according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). "The aliens who are
getting released on their own recognizance are being allowed to board and travel commercial airliners by simply showing their Notice to
Appear forms," NBPC's Local 2455 Spokesman, Hector Garza, told Breitbart Texas.
Attacks Breitbart Texas Report of Illegals Being Allowed to Fly Without ID. The
Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) claims that Breitbart News' report that TSA
officials are allowing illegal aliens to fly on commercial airlines without valid identification and
by simply showing their Notice to Appear forms is false and inaccurate reporting. In a sequence of
tweets between Ross Feinstein, press secretary/spokesman of the TSA, and Managing Director of
Breitbart Texas, Brandon Darby, Feinstein trashed Darby's sources, saying that National Border Patrol
Council (NBPC) spokesman Hector Garza and Shawn Moran, the vice president of the NBPC, are inaccurate.
Patrol Union: TSA 'Lying,' Changed Policy After Breitbart Report. In a Breitbart Texas
exclusive, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) directly challenged the truthfulness of public
statements made by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA spokesman used
social media to claim that Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby and the NBPC were lying
about a recent report that the TSA is allowing illegal aliens to fly on commercial airliners without
Teen stowaway shows holes in vast airport
security. Although the 15-year-old apparently wanted nothing more than to run away, his success in
slipping past layers of security early Sunday morning [4/20/2014] made it clear that a determined person can still
get into a supposedly safe area and sneak onto a plane.
The Editor says...
Yes, you can climb over a fence and "onto a plane" — if you don't mind riding in the wheel well, where you are
very likely to be crushed when the landing gear is retracted after takeoff, or frozen to death, or asphyxiated at
Airports, a Misplaced Faith in Body Language. Like the rest of us, airport security screeners like
to think they can read body language. The Transportation Security Administration has spent some $1 billion
training thousands of "behavior detection officers" to look for facial expressions and other nonverbal clues that
would identify terrorists. But critics say there's no evidence that these efforts have stopped a single terrorist
or accomplished much beyond inconveniencing tens of thousands of passengers a year. The T.S.A. seems to have
fallen for a classic form of self-deception: the belief that you can read liars' minds by watching their bodies.
on international flight bypass immigration after plane arrives at the wrong terminal. International flight security concerns have been raised
as passengers on board a flight from London to New York's JFK were left to bypass immigration when the plane arrived at the wrong terminal. Passengers
on the Delta Air Lines fight were let out into a section of the airport where they did not have to pass through immigration or customs. They were only
stopped when airport employees realised they were in the wrong part of the airport.
USAPA Security Update. Bringing
down an airliner continues to be the Gold Standard of terrorism. If anyone thinks that our enemies have "been there, done that" and are
not targeting US commercial aviation — think again. There have been several cases recently throughout the industry of what
appear to be probes, or dry-runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an inflight threat.
Allen West Warns of Islamic
Terrorist Threat. A recent unpublicized incident where several "Middle Eastern" men conducted, what some airline security
experts believe was a "dry run" of a potential future terrorist attack aboard a U.S. airline, is raising questions about how real
another 9/11-style attack really is.
9/11-Style Dry Runs On Airplanes. US Airline Pilots Association's Steve Sevier cited a Sept. 2 incident in which a group of "Middle
Eastern males" started acting suspiciously after US Airways Flight 1880 took off from Washington to Orlando, Fla. "Shortly after takeoff, one
got up and ran from his seat in coach toward the flight deck door. He made a hard left and entered the forward lav, where he stayed for a
considerable length of time!" Sevier wrote. "While he was in there, the others got up and proceeded to move about the cabin, changing seats,
opening overhead bins and generally making a scene. They appeared to be trying to occupy and distract the flight attendants."
10 News Investigators find memo warning about
terrorist "dry-runs" on airplanes. The 10 News Investigators have obtained an internal memo that details a frightening incident that brings back memories
of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Since then, federal efforts have gone in place to prevent a similar attack, leading many to believe another attack
what happened on 9/11 could never happen again. Wolf Koch, who flies Boeing 767s for Delta Airlines and is the Aviation Security Committee Chairman for the Air
Line Pilots Association International, says that belief "is very foolish."
Memo details terrorist's 'dry run' aboard flight last month.
We've been hearing these reports for years, but this appears to be the real deal. On a flight from Washington to Orlando last month, several Middle Eastern men caused what was
termed a commotion and "appeared to be conducting a test run to gauge procedure and reaction to an in-flight threat during an incident aboard US Airways Flight 1880 from Reagan
National Airport to Orlando International Airport on Sept. 2," according to Fox News.
Pilots union warns of 'dry run' by possible terrorists
on US flight. Security experts for a major airline's pilot's union have warned members that potential terrorists conducted apparent "dry runs" aboard domestic flights in
recent weeks, and urged flight crews not to be pressured into taking to the skies if they are fearful. A memo from the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, which represents more than
5,000 pilots who fly for US Airways, cites "several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry runs, to test our procedures and reaction
to an in-flight threat."
TSA Agent Arrested for Smuggling Illegal Aliens.
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent was arrested Friday for conspiring to smuggle illegal aliens into the country.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers arrested David Alexander Díaz-Torres in Orlando, Fla., according to the Justice Department.
Díaz-Torres and five others were charged in a 13-count indictment for bringing, transporting, harboring, and shielding illegal aliens
within the United States.
Homeland Security Fail. Frightening evidence
of how lax our airport security has become is provided by an incident near Los Angeles, where a parked private jet airplane was tagged by a graffiti
Terrorists given new identities allowed to board commercial flights, IG report finds.
An investigation of the Justice Department's witness protection program uncovered glaring security problems that allowed terrorists who had been
given new identities after cooperating with U.S. prosecutors to board commercial flights in the United States. In some cases, suspects
whose names were on federal watch lists that were meant to keep them off commercial aircraft were nevertheless able to board flights because
the Justice Department had failed to add their new, government-issued identities to counterterrorism databases.
Spy Cameras Won't Make Us Safer. On January 19, a team of
at least 15 people assassinated Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. The Dubai police released video footage of 11 of
them. While it was obviously a very professional operation, the 27 minutes of video is fascinating in its banality.
Team members walk through the airport, check in and out of hotels, get in and out of taxis. They make no effort to hide
themselves from the cameras, sometimes seeming to stare directly into them. They obviously don't care that they're being
recorded, and — in fact — the cameras didn't prevent the assassination, nor as far as we know have they
helped as yet in identifying the killers.
Shocking stun-gun lapse at
Kennedy. A Greek national was able to slip a stun gun past inept TSA agents at Kennedy Airport yesterday [3/13/2013] after
using it in the alleged rape and assault of his ex-girlfriend in Queens, authorities said. Prodromos Vasilopoulous was about to
board a Virgin Atlantic flight to London when he was picked up by authorities at the gate at around 8 a.m. He had the
stun gun in his Nike carry-on bag, and had no trouble getting it past the security checkpoint, sources said.
Flaw seen in TSA boarding-pass security.
Widely available smartphone applications can scan airline boarding passes to see if passengers are scheduled for additional screening by the Transportation
Security Administration, which a security expert flags as a flaw in the system. The flaw involves PreCheck passengers, who are typically allowed to
keep their shoes and belts on, and their laptops and small containers of liquids in their bags at checkpoints.
security flaw with TSA PreCheck boarding passes. The bar code on airline boarding passes for passengers enrolled in the TSA PreCheck scheme could pose a
serious security threat after flight enthusiasts revealed that the numbers contain important information about the type of security check passengers can expect to
receive. The flaw was uncovered by aviation blogger John Butler after he discovered that the information stored in his TSA PreCheck bar code wasn't encrypted.
Hacking TSA PreCheck. What a dumb way to design the system.
It would be easier — and far more secure — if the boarding pass checker just randomly chose 10%, or whatever percentage they want, of
PreCheck passengers to send through regular screening. Why go through the trouble of encoding it in the barcode and then reading it? And — of
course — this means that you can still print your own boarding pass. On the other hand, I think the PreCheck level of airport screening is what
everyone should get, and that the no-fly list and the photo ID check add nothing to security. So I don't feel any less safe because of this vulnerability.
Stranded jet-skier saunters through JFK safeguards.
A stranded jet-skier seeking help effortlessly overcame the Port Authority's $100 million, supposedly state-of-the-art security system at JFK
Airport — walking undetected across two runways and into a terminal, The [New York] Post has learned. Motion sensors and closed-circuit
cameras of the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, or PIDS, were no match for Daniel Casillo, 31, of Howard Beach, who easily breached the system meant to
safeguard against terrorists.
Midnight Was Movie Hour, Nap Time in New York
Air Tower. When midnight rolled around and flight traffic thinned out, air-traffic controllers guiding planes in the busiest U.S. corridor whipped
out laptops to watch movies, play games or gamble online. Controllers on break inflated air mattresses and napped on the floor. Some left before
their shifts were over. They cursed at managers, refused to train new controllers, and flouted rules requiring them to pass on weather advisories to
pilots. "It was blatant and in your face," Evan Seeley, a former manager in the Ronkonkoma, New York, tower who came forward last year, said in a
phone interview yesterday [5/9/2012].
Airport terminal evacuated after Muslim TSA employee leaves metal detector unplugged. This happened a couple of
weeks ago and no flights went down, but it could have been a test of how to get people through security with material that would
otherwise be detected, which they could then stash somewhere and retrieve later if they had to be re-screened. Or it could
just be an incompetent TSA employee (there are certainly more than enough of those to go around) who just happened to be a Muslim.
There is no way to be sure at this point, although it would be refreshing, albeit unlikely, if law enforcement did a bit of digging
into the activities of Alija Abdul Majed. In any case, this incident underscores how useless the TSA really is.
screeners charged in LA drug trafficking probe. Duane Eleby, a suspected drug courier, was all
set to sneak 10 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport last
February with the help of a former Transportation Security Administration employee and a screener.
Our turbulent skies. In the last
three decades there have been 188 airline bankruptcies. Not coincidentally, fares, adjusted for inflation,
are 18 percent lower than in 2000. Forty years ago, a majority of Americans had never taken an airplane
trip. Now everyone is more free than ever to move about the country, air travel having been democratized by
liberating it from government.
traffic controllers caught on camera apparently sleeping, texting. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Westchester
County executive Rob Astorino were reacting to a report on TV station WNYW. The report included video purporting to
show controllers sleeping, texting and reading while on duty at the county airport. In a letter to the FAA, Sen.
Gillibrand said: "If these allegations are correct, they are highly disturbing and require attention at the highest
levels of the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation."
Rep. Janice Hahn
criticizes TSA after firearm incident at LAX. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) wrote to TSA chief
John Pistole following an incident over the weekend in which a loaded, undeclared .38-caliber handgun fell
out of a checked bag as it was being put on a plane at Los Angeles International Airport. The Los Angeles
Times reported Wednesday [10/26/2011] that the TSA does not search for guns in checked luggage.
give security badges to just about anyone, even dogs. It doesn't take much to get an airport
security badge these days, even if you are a dog. In an examination of a database of more than
1.1 million security badges for roughly 900,000 airport workers at 359 US airports, the Department of
Homeland Security Inspector General found omissions or inaccuracies in 96,000 records, such as missing security
status, birthdates and birthplaces. In one instance, a security badge was issued to a dog.
breached 25,000 times since 2001. U.S. airports have suffered more than 25,000 security breaches under
the watch of the Transportation Security Administration in the past ten years, a House subcommittee on national security
reported today [7/13/2011]. At a hearing today of the House subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and
Foreign Operations, lawmakers reported thousands of breaches and slammed the TSA for what members saw as a litany of
security lapses at airports across the country.
stowaway had at least 10 boarding passes, none in his name, officials say. A Nigerian stowaway
who flew from New York to Los Angeles with an expired boarding pass in someone else's name was carrying at least
10 different boarding passes, according to the FBI agent who took him into custody. Not one of the boarding
passes was in the name of Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, who acknowledged sneaking aboard a Virgin America flight on
June 23, officials said.
The Editor says...
I don't get it. Is this another Muslim dry-run to see where the security is weakest, or did this guy
have legitimate reasons to fly somewhere but no money for a ticket? As usual, we can't rely on the
news media to tell the whole story.
Erases Jihadist Graffiti on Plane. You have to ask yourself if the TSA did this on purpose.
I think the agency "flubbed" this deliberately. It's standard operating procedure for law enforcement to
preserve a potential crime scene like this one, where it looked like it might be hinting at a terrorist
attack that could kill plenty of passengers on a plane about to take off.
members call for investigation of TSA. Two Republican House members are calling for an
investigation of the Transportation Security Administration after serious lapses in security led to
the firing of dozens TSA employees at Honolulu International Airport.
accidentally sneaks giant knives through TSA security. Paul Kahan, a James Beard
Award-winning chef based in Chicago, said he accidentally smuggled four large chef's knives onto a
flight out of Chicago O'Hare International Airport in his carry-on bag on Thursday [6/16/2011].
"Flew outa O'Hare today," Kahan wrote on Twitter. "Forgot I had four huge chef's knives in
carry-on bag. Got patted down for wallet. Knives went through."
Muslim group: two imams pulled
from plane bound for North Carolina. An airline is investigating the removal of two imams from a
flight headed to North Carolina, ostensibly because passengers felt uncomfortable with their presence of the
pair — both clad in Islamic attire. The incident occurred Friday on an Atlantic Southeast Airlines
flight from Tennessee to North Carolina and it involved Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul were wearing
traditional Muslim dress, CNN affiliate WCNC reported.
The Editor says...
If you don't want to be treated like a potential hijacker, don't dress and act like one.
Follies: See SPOT Fail. Air traffic controllers have been catching a lot of grief for
sleeping on the job lately. But do you know what Transportation Security Administration officials
have been doing — or rather, not doing — lately? A federal watchdog revealed
this week that TSA's counterterrorism specialists failed to detect 16 separate jihad operatives who
moved through target airports "on at least 23 different occasions."
TSA Failed At
Least 23 Times to Detect Terror Suspects. Stephen M. Lord, director of homeland security
and justice issues at the Government Accountability Office, told the House Science Subcommittee on
Investigations and Oversight today that the Transportation Security Administration failed on at
least 23 occasions to stop subsequent terror suspects who boarded planes at U.S. airports.
Man reportedly slips past security,
boards flight. The Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday [3/9/2011] it is
trying to determine how a man slipped past authorities and boarded a flight with a stolen boarding pass
at New York's Kennedy airport.
DHS Caught and Released
369 Nigerians in 9 Months; 15 Became Fugitives. Shortly after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian
national, attempted to detonate an underwear bomb aboard Northwest Flight 253 as it approached Detroit
from Amsterdam on Christmas Day 2009, the Homeland Security Department's Transportation Security Administration
mandated heightened security checks (including full body patdowns) for all nationals of Nigeria and 13 other
countries who boarded flights bound for the U.S.
boards plane with three boxcutters. A passenger boarded an international flight from New York with
three boxcutters in his hand luggage after TSA workers at JFK airport failed to spot the blades. He walked
straight through supposedly ramped-up security with the cutters, which were used as weapons by the 9/11 hijackers.
The Editor says...
Will the screeners be fired? Not a chance!
Blunder. Here's a confidence-builder: All 141 passengers and crew members aboard
a JetBlue flight about to depart JFK last weekend had to be evacuated because Transportation Security Administration
screeners missed three box-cutters stashed in a passenger's carry-on bag. As The Post's Philip Messing
reported, Jersey City factory worker Eusebio Peraltalajara boarded the plane with the razors, which he'd
stowed in a carry-on after work and then forgot about. TSA agents never noticed them.
security told to ignore flying 'mules'. Just prior to Christmas, British customs officers
were instructed to pay no attention to flying 'mules' passing through Heathrow airport in London.
Due to reduced holiday staffing, Britain's busiest airport was wide open to drug smugglers for a three
day period. The UK Daily Mail learned that a UK Border Agency official sent a highly controversial
email to the staff at Heathrow.
Sacramento-area pilot punished for YouTube
video. An airline pilot is being disciplined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for posting
video on YouTube pointing out what he believes are serious flaws in airport security. The 50-year-old pilot, who lives
outside Sacramento, asked that neither he nor his airline be identified. He has worked for the airline for more than a
decade and was deputized by the TSA to carry a gun in the cockpit.
Exactly the way Russia would handle it... Pilot
punished for showing TSA the truth. His original video posted on YouTube was fuzzy and jumpy,
which you might expect from a cell phone, but it was enough for TSA to show up at the home of the person
capturing those images with four Sky Marshals and two sheriff's deputies, and confiscate the man's handgun
which they had issued to him because he was authorized to carry weapons as part of the government's armed
pilots program. They also ordered him to remove the video from YouTube.
TSA punishes pilot for
criticizing its security flaws. Behaving more like a thuggish third world dictatorship than the guardians
of a democratic society, TSA agents have swooped down on a pilot who had the temerity to publicly point out flaws in the
security system at San Francisco International Airport. Quite clearly, the agency is far more concerned to appear
to be doing a good job than in actually carrying out its mission.
Wants to 'Come Out of Shadows'. The airline pilot who spoke out anonymously after he was
reprimanded by the TSA for posting videos showing security flaws at a major airport said today he may
reveal his identity this week. The 50-year-old California man told ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento
that he hopes he will be able to "safely come out of the shadows."
Congressman to TSA: Stop harassing pilot,
fix the problem. A Sacramento-area airline pilot has made national headlines after posting YouTube
videos showing security flaws at San Francisco International Airport. The 50-year-old man shared those
videos with News10 to highlight what he and his attorney call serious security flaws.
The pilot now has his own web site: TSA Whistleblowing Patriot Pilot. The Patriot Pilot
is an average man, like many of us, who simply wanted to make sure that the American public was truly safe
when flying the 'friendly skies'.
Man boards plane at IAH with
loaded gun in carry-on. TSA checkpoints at airports are at the front lines of preventing
terrorism. When you go through security, you expect to be scanned and searched. And you expect TSA
to prevent contraband from getting on planes, but as we've learned, that doesn't always happen.
who allowed security breach at Newark Airport put on administrative leave. The air-headed guard
who allowed a major security breach at Newark Airport on Sunday has been placed on administrative leave and
booted from the airport, the Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday [1/6/2010]. The disciplinary
smackdown is the first sign that heads could roll at the TSA as a result of the security lapse, during which
an unidentified man walked into a supposedly secure area of Terminal C.
Update: No heads will roll. TSA
says Newark Airport security guard will be back on the job. The guard who was away from his post
at Newark Airport when a graduate student ducked into a secured area was notified today of his discipline, a
Transportation Security Administration official said today. The federal agency, which has not named the
guard, would not release details of the disciplinary action, saying it is a protected personnel matter, but
confirmed the guard will be back on the job.
The System? It's You!
Janet Napolitano's appearance on CNN this morning [12/27/2009], in which she tried to put a happy face on the
fact that a known terrorist sympathizer got onto a flight bound for America and nearly brought it down, has
been widely and justly derided.
IEDs. I think we will see some radical changes from the Obama administration very rapidly.
When a Nigerian national, with a history of radical Islamic sympathies, previously reported to U.S. authorities
by his father as a threat to America, buys a one-way ticket with cash, has no check-in luggage, previously was
denied a British visa, boards a plane easily, and is prevented only by a courageous tourist from murdering
over 300 innocents — and when all that is characterized as the system working like
"clockwork" — well, something is terribly wrong.
Several hundred men, women, and children will live to see the New Year thanks to good luck: The terrorist
on Delta/Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit was inadequately trained, and one passenger turned
out to be remarkably quick-thinking and courageous. But a multi-billion dollar government security system
failed. The question now: Is the Obama administration smart enough to go to school on this attack?
flags waved, ignored. The more I think about the Christmas all-but-bombing, the angrier I get.
At the multiple failures that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to get on the plane with explosives sewn inside
his underwear. And at the Obama administration's initial, everything's-fine-everybody-move-right-along reaction.
Top 10 Disasters
of Flight 253. [#1] Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is on a terrorist watch list and banned from
the U.K. His father has warned U.S. authorities about him. He has no passport, checks no
luggage and pays for a one-way ticket in cash. He is allowed to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253.
involved in inflight fight gets 30 days in jail. A 31-year-old man has been sentenced to 30 days
in jail for fighting with a fellow passenger on an Air Canada jet that was forced to cut short a flight to
Germany and land in Montreal. Montreal police spokesman Daniel Lacoursiere said that Khodr Ahmad was
sentenced in Montreal court Thursday [12/31/2009] after pleading guilty to a charge of disturbing the peace.
Smuggled Gun Found On Phoenix-Bound
Plane. A US Airways employee and passenger are being questioned after an unloaded handgun was discovered
aboard a Phoenix-bound flight originating in Philadelphia, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr. Souces say a
passenger allegedly handed a bag containing the weapon to an airline employee, who bypassed the security screening before
giving it back to the passenger, reports Orr. Ammunition was also found on the plane.
Marshals kept off plane at
Reagan. A team of federal air marshals was prevented from protecting a recent flight from Ronald
Reagan Washington National Airport because a gate agent erroneously said they did not have the correct paperwork,
say marshals familiar with the incident. … Even the intervention of higher-ups in the Homeland Security
Department could not persuade the airline to allow the armed law-enforcement agents aboard, and the plane
departed unprotected an hour and a half late, the sources said.
Loaded gun slips through airport security.
A passenger who went through an airport security checkpoint — before remembering that he had a loaded
gun — is facing charges after going back to report his error, authorities said. The
TSA contacted airport police, who charged the man with possessing or transporting a firearm into
an air carrier terminal where prohibited, a misdemeanor, and released him.
The Editor says...
There is a lesson to be learned here: If you do the right thing and admit
your gun made it through security, you will be punished.
Overhaul cuts sky
marshals by a third. The number of armed sky marshals is to be slashed on some international
flights as part of an overhaul of the highly secretive anti-terror program. Changes to the Air
Security Officer program — created as a last-ditch defence against hijackers following the
attacks of September 11, 2001 — will result in the number of marshals on some 747 flights
being reduced by a third.
plane hijacker is now working as a cleaner at Heathrow. Airport security was condemned as a joke
after an Afghan involved in the Stansted hijacking was found to be working at Heathrow as a cleaner.
Police arrested Nazamuddin Mohammidy at Terminal 5 where he showed his British Airways pass allowing
him access to secure areas.
Screeners Fail 'Would-Be' Bomber Tests. Federal agents tested security screeners
at 21 U.S. airports by carrying bomb-making materials — and not a single would-be
"suicide bomber" was detected. "In all 21 airports tested, no machine, no swab, no screener
anywhere stopped the bomb materials from getting through," according to a report from
NBC Nightly News that cited government sources.
Al Gore Inadvertently Breaches Airport
Security. Former vice president Al Gore was involved in a security breach at the Nashville
Airport when an American Airlines employee led him and his entourage around security, a clear violation
Bloggers attack feds after agent
forgets gun in airport. Bloggers are raising their voices in unison calling for punishment
for a federal agent who left her gun in a restroom inside the secured area at Milwaukee's airport.
"Using the agency's own standards, this agent should be headed to the slam," wrote [one blogger7].
Airline baggage handlers brought
guns, drugs on flight. Two baggage handlers carried a bag containing guns and drugs on a commercial
flight from Florida to Puerto Rico, but passengers were in no danger, a Transportation Security Administration
spokesman said. The baggage handlers used their employee uniforms and airport identification cards to
enter restricted areas, bypass screeners with the bag and board the commercial Delta flight, according to
court documents released Wednesday [3/7/2007].
[Notice that the TSA said the "passengers were in no danger" with guns aboard the plane. If that is
true, why will they
not allow the pilots to carry guns?]
Most fake bombs missed by
screeners. Security screeners at two of the nation's busiest airports failed to find fake bombs
hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers in more than 60% of tests last year, according to a classified
report obtained by USA TODAY. Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75% of simulated
explosives and bomb parts that Transportation Security Administration testers hid under their clothes or in
carry-on bags at checkpoints, the TSA report shows.
Airport boss won't take
the blame. Chicago's aviation commissioner on Thursday [11/08/2007] contradicted charges that
illegal immigrants gained access to secure areas of O'Hare using deactivated city security cards —
and she put blame for the problem on the federal government and private employers. On Wednesday [11/7/2007],
federal and local authorities cracked down on a company that allegedly got illegals identity badges so they
could load cargo and meals onto commercial jetliners.
Cannabis blunder at Tokyo airport. An
unwitting passenger arriving at Japan's Narita airport has received 142g of cannabis after a customs test went awry,
officials say. A customs officer hid a package of the banned substance in a side pocket of a randomly chosen suitcase
in order to test airport security. Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which
bag he had put it in. Anyone finding the package has been asked to contact customs officials.
The Editor says...
One thing is certain: the cops won't believe you when you say, "I don't know how this got in my suitcase."
Boy Sneaks Past Security, Boards
Flight. A 9-year-old boy from Lakewood sneaked past security and talked his way onto a Southwest
Airlines flight at Sea-Tac Airport Monday night after running away from home. … Before the boy was
able to get on the plane he had to get a boarding pass at the airline's ticket counter.
Update: Boy who hopped
flights caught again at Sea-Tac. The boy who talked his way onto airline flights to Texas last
year has attempted another getaway. A Seattle TV station, KING, reports Semaj Booker was stopped today
by the Transportation Security Administration at a Seattle-Tacoma International Airport gate after he failed
to show a boarding pass. His mother had reported him missing to Tacoma police at 3 a.m.
Mother of 9-year-old runaway expresses pride in son's
escapades. The mother of the 9-year-old boy who took two flights in an attempt to run away to
Dallas said she was stunned but proud to hear about her son's actions, according to a TV interview scheduled
to air Wednesday night. [In case you have forgotten] The boy tried to run away to Dallas on
Jan. 15 because he disliked Washington and wanted to be with his grandfather. He faces charges in
connection with a high speed chase in a stolen car on Highway 512 the day before his airline escapade.
These questions came to the Editor's mind, in this order:
1. Where's his father?
2. Why hasn't this kid been locked up?
3. If he likes Dallas so much, why send him back to Washington?
4. Why is his mother, the enabler, so proud of him?
Congressman charged after
altercation. Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) was involved in an altercation last night [8-19-2007] at
Dulles Airport. He was allegedly angered by the amount of time it was taking to get his luggage and
tried to push his way through the United Airlines baggage claim office.
Filner: 'Regret' for
Airport Incident. Rep. Bob Filner said Wednesday [8/29/2007] he regrets a recent incident at
Dulles Airport in which he allegedly pushed a United Airlines baggage employee, resulting in assault and
battery charges. Filner, D-Calif., offered few details of the Aug. 19 incident in a three-sentence
statement issued after he returned from a week in Iraq.
Discovery of dazed stowaway grounds
flight. A man scaled a security fence at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and boarded a Delta
jet in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, landing himself in jail while preventing a flight to Cincinnati from
taking off. Gregory S. Wester of Fuquay-Varina walked onto the Boeing 737-800 and quietly took a seat
while a cleaning crew was working on the plane about 3:30 a.m., airport spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said.
Wester had climbed a 7-foot fence topped with barbed wire to gain access to the tarmac at the airport's
Warning on air traffic
hacking. Hackers armed with little more than a laptop computer could conjure up phantom planes
on air traffic controllers' screens using new radar technology called ADS-B — Automatic Dependent
Surveillance Broadcasting. The technology has been enthusiastically endorsed by the airline
industry because it is less costly than radar. But critics say the system has no way of
verifying whether a plane is where it claims to be or if it exists at all.
Examination of Airport Security: In the first week of December, 2004, the
media focused on the problem of missing security personnel uniforms and badges reported
in Canada. Just how our friends to the north learned of the loss of over 1100 uniforms
and badges is not clear, but it was reported that at least one uniform was offered for sale
on E-bay — hopefully, that was not how the problem came to the attention of
Airport screening tests
were sabotaged. Federal transportation officials and a private security firm at San Francisco
International Airport worked together to undermine a federal investigation of passenger screening at security
checkpoints, according to a report released Thursday [11/16/2006] by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
TSA Claims Progress in Securing Commercial Aviation From Explosives, Little Has Changed. Despite
the repeated efforts of federal law enforcement in breaking up criminal enterprise activities on airport ramps
in all regions of the country where they have arrested workers involved in the movement of narcotics, ramp
workers still continue to enter and leave daily without being subjected to physical screening. Even after
other ramp employees were found to be illegal aliens working in sterile security zones with the highest level
of security clearance and the identification and arrests of workers with significant criminal histories and
outstanding arrest warrants, airport workers with access to restricted areas, cargo, baggage and aircraft
are still not physically screened before accessing sterile areas.
Air marshal leaves plane after dropping bullets. A
U.S. air marshal removed himself from a Southwest Airlines flight Thursday [6/1/2006] after dropping a
clip of bullets on the floor just before the plane was to take off, an airline spokeswoman said.
arrests 55 illegal workers at Dulles airport. U.S. immigration officials said on Wednesday
[6/14/2006] they had arrested 55 illegal immigrants who were working at a construction site in the secure
area at Dulles International Airport.
TSA: Computer glitch led to Atlanta airport
scare. A bomb scare that lead authorities to evacuate security checkpoints for two hours at
Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on 19 Apr 2006 was reported by the Transportation
Security Administration director as the result of a "software malfunction". The detected device was
part of a routine test, but apparently could not be located.
device narrowly averts collision. A Chicago-bound jet came within seconds of a midair collision
at 25,000 feet over Indiana, but a cockpit safety device alerted the pilots flying the other plane of the
danger ahead, officials said Wednesday [11/14/2007]. The controller, a 26-year veteran, appeared to
have forgotten about the United Express plane after he mistakenly removed its electronic identification tag
from his radar screen in preparation to hand off the plane to controllers in a different air sector, officials
Clues After Man Vanishes at Mineta San Jose Int'l Airport. David Eugene Brewer was
on his way to Hawaii to rebuild his life when he disappeared on Halloween in plain sight at Mineta
San Jose International Airport. At the airport, Brewer encountered two polite strangers who
let him use their cell phones to call his mother in Kauai, according to San Jose police. He
also talked to her on an airport courtesy phone. And then he vanished.
Air marshals face smuggling
charges. Two federal air marshals are facing drug charges after allegedly agreeing to
smuggle cocaine from a man who turned out to be a government witness, the U.S. attorney's office in
Houston, Texas, announced Monday [2/13/2006].
Midway scare is
blamed on glitch. Errors by screeners — not random
computer glitches that the federal government previously blamed — were
responsible for false alarms over weapons that sparked the recent evacuation of
Midway Airport and two other U.S. airports, according to the Transportation
Rangers. Just fill out a form and undergo a background check, and you too
can become a front-line fighter as Houston's airport tries to keep our nation safe and
secure. No experience necessary. You don't even have to be a U.S.
citizen. No, it's not [intended to be] a joke. The Airport Rangers program
is intended to promote both security and community participation, according to the official
description. It's a volunteer mounted patrol that rides horses along the pristine
wooded trails that form the perimeter of the 11,000-acre airport.
Most "spiked" stories of
2003: Although it's attracted little media attention, the "ramp" or "back side" of an airport,
where unscreened workers and vendors have access to baggage, air cargo, food supplies, mechanics' equipment and
the aircraft itself, represents the gateway to the next terrorist attack on U.S. airliners, predicts a former
airline security consultant.
Biometric IDs for Airport
Employees. Transportation employees are a weak link in airplane
security. We're spending billions on passenger screening programs like CAPPS-II, but
none of these measures will do any good if terrorists can just go around the
systems. Current TSA policy is that airport workers can access secure areas of
airports with no screening whatsoever except for a rudimentary background check.
Sabotage, and Security: Bob Tamburini, an Airbus A300 Captain said "Indications
that saboteurs are 'at work' on the payrolls of airlines adds another dimension to air
safety. Crash investigators can no longer rule out sabotage/terrorism in a 'rush to
judgment' designed to appease the flying public — not when FAA certified mechanics,
(possibly) linked to terrorist cells, can loosen attachment bolts on aircraft tails and
engines. The time has come to ensure that all airport/airline employees meet the
strictest background checks, regardless of the associated costs."
Airport Security Issues: Although
there has been an increase in the level of security at many airports, the advice on this page should
provide an overview of what to expect when you are traveling through many of the world's airports.
the preventable: Congress has now required that, by year's end, all
checked baggage at all U.S. airports is to be screened by explosive detection
systems. These fast hi-tech machines are equipped with artificial intelligence
packages to decide what all the data their sensors are taking means. Automated
data evaluation and decision making is critically important, since these machines will
be operated by brethren of those mental giants who now scan your carry-on luggage —
sometimes with their x-ray machine unplugged.
Airport Baggage Scanners
Flawed: Unannounced tests in the months before September 11 repeatedly found lapses by the
$1 million baggage scanners that the federal government plans to deploy at airports around the country to
detect explosives, according to the Los Angeles Times.
U.S. Arrests Foreign Airport
Workers: Twenty foreign nationals who work at Logan International Airport [Boston] have been
charged with lying to obtain badges that gave them access to secure areas of the facility, federal prosecutors
announced Wednesday [2/27/2002].
Agent: FAA buried
lapses. The Federal Aviation Administration covered up security shortcomings at airports for
years by manipulating tests and ignoring loopholes that its agents reported, a leader of an FAA team that
tested security says.
airport security charade: The real security for today's flights is on the
plane itself, made up of cabin crews and passengers. The security people at the
airport can't stop a terrorist from boarding a plane if they don't have solid proof of
what he intends to do. In other words, today's improved airport security is a
Federalize Airport Security : In response to tremendous fear of flying in the
wake of the Sept. 11 disaster, both the White House and Congress have been desperately
searching for ways to beef up airport security. But one "solution" is no solution at
all and may lead to weaker security. That bad idea, having the federal government
take over airport security, should be rejected.
airport flunked secret security test: Undercover federal agents
acting as terrorists managed to break through security points at San Francisco
International Airport 99 percent of the time during a 1998 sting, a secret
Federal Aviation Administration memo reveals. Yet top FAA officials here
took "no corrective action," an FAA whistleblower agent complained, even
though agents were able to sneak even machine guns past screeners.
ignore "alarmed" luggage: The government says only about 10 percent of
checked suitcases are now scanned for explosives. But the share may actually be
far less, warn airport security specialists.
Face recognition technology is a proven
farce: Crowd surveillance kit using face recognition technology by Visionics has been a comic
failure in tests by the Tampa, Florida police, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has discovered.
By leveraging the Florida open-records law, the watchdog organization obtained system logs proving that the
Visionics contraption has thus far failed to identify one single crook or pervert listed in the department's
photographic database, while falsely identifying 'a large number' of innocent citizens.
Public Sector Security: In addition to the broad
resources provided by local and federal law enforcement agencies that daily exercise general police powers,
more and more agencies of government have specialized law enforcement personnel to police compliance with
their executive authority under agency regulations, codes and statutes. The responsibility for
protecting government facilities and operations may be vested in yet a third category of public sector
security with police powers to enforce laws necessary to protect public property. As a nation we are
becoming more security conscious than in the past and more territorial about who will provide it.
Profiling Should Be Conducted by Trained and Trusted Profilers. Profiling, the art of
identifying individuals for heightened scrutiny in this case, has been used successfully by Israel to
identify passengers deemed to be a threat to their commercial aviation system. But profiling in the
United States for the same purpose has raised the ire of the ACLU and other organizations concerned that
it would unfairly single out minorities, particularly those most closely identified by race, ethnicity,
religion and gender with the terrorists involved in 9/11 and other terrorist events around the world.
Hiring the Right
People: At the end of the day good airport security is driven by good security
personnel. … While the government is purchasing explosive detection equipment that costs in
excess of $1 million per unit, and we need over 2,000 units, some members of Congress,
and some officials of the Department of Transportation, expect screeners without a high
school education to operate that equipment effectively. Not likely when you cannot read
or comprehend the instruction manual!
Case of the Ubiquitous Box Cutters: Whether an airliner can be hijacked anymore with a box
cutter or any other hand-held weapon is debatable, given reinforced cockpit doors and the like. What
is more important is the fact that a box cutter can still make it through security after an $11 billion
effort to keep it out.
Security: A Work in Progress. In aviation security, the cause of a security breach must
be determined and corrected quickly because, unlike with other risks, they are much likelier to
cause catastrophic harm.
Some Passengers Safer Than Others? After its dogged insistence since 9/11 that objects with
points or sharp edges (regardless of size) were a threat to aviation security, the TSA is now considering
reversing itself, and recognizing that the mountain of pen knives and scissors it has confiscated were never
really a hijacking threat. Even more astonishing is a plan to allow thousands of air travelers with
the right employment pedigrees to pass onto to airliners with no screening at all as way to reduce screening
costs and speed up the boarding process.
Want to bring a bomb onto an airplane? CNN
happily tells you how to do it. TSA tester slips mock bomb past airport
security. Jason — that's the name CNN was asked to call him — slides a
simulated explosive into an elastic back support. The mock bomb is as slim as a wallet; its fuse, the
size of a cigarette. He wraps the support around his torso, and the bomb fits comfortably into the small
of his back. It's hard to tell he's concealing anything; harder still when he dons a black T-shirt and a
maroon golf shirt.