Federalization of Airport Security Bogging Down. (Waste & Abuse)

By Paige, Sean | Insight on the News, December 24, 2001 | Go to article overview

Federalization of Airport Security Bogging Down. (Waste & Abuse)


Paige, Sean, Insight on the News


The president's signature still was drying on the airport-security bill when the U.S. Department of Transportation, the lead agency in the federalization of the new baggage-screening regime, started making excuses for why it wouldn't be able to meet the implementation timetable set forth in the law, It was quick vindication for critics (this column included) predicting that the feds will make a mess of it.

In comments that don't bode well for the whole exercise, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta was predicting only days after the Nov. 19 bill signing that the government probably would not be able within 60 days to ensure that all checked and carry-on luggage will be screened for explosives, as stipulated by the law. Meeting that vexing mandate wouldn't be possible, Mineta said, because the government could not, in a mere two months, have enough bomb-sniffing dogs, bomb-detecting machinery or security personnel to screen every bag moving through U.S. airports.

If the government fails to meet its first 60-day deadline, the baggage of every airline passenger may be searched by hand, according to Mineta. "To the extent that we can't do it by machinery, we're going to have people open up their bags and have it looked at in order to comply with this," he told aviation-conference attendees. …

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