Pistol-Packing Pilots for Plane security.(LETTERS)(FORUM)
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Our nation's airports blame security breaches on the Transportation Security Administration's aggressive Nov. 19 deadline to have all airport screeners federally trained. The TSA blames inefficient security measures on its sudden inheritance last fall of a flawed aviation security system.
All the noise lately surrounding airport security, or better yet the lack thereof, has resulted from the ability of New York Daily News journalists to intentionally board airplanes with contraband in tow over the Labor Day weekend.
Daily News reporters were able to sneak potential weapons, including box cutters, small knives, and pepper spray, into a total of 11 airports and onto 14 different flights by six major airlines. Four of the 11 airports - Newark International, Boston's Logan Airport, Washington's Dulles International, and Portland International Jetport in Maine - were the sources of last fall's terrorist tragedy.
The incident may have proven to be much ado about nothing had every reporter but perhaps one been discovered transporting weapons across federal boundary lines. After all, mistakes will happen occasionally. But as the Daily News reports, "Not a single airport security checkpoint spotted or confiscated any of the dangerous items, all of which have been banned from airports and planes by federal authorities."
And so we have what has amounted to nothing less than a serious national fiasco.
As the feds scramble to tighten security around the nation's airports, there remain feelings that something is strangely amiss as we listen to the airports and the TSA contemplate suggestions for making improvements in safety measures. For one, if the "federal training" the airports are whining about is anything like that in some of our government offices, it won't amount to much more than security screeners being handed a new binder of "procedures" that they subsequently use for a dust-collecting paperweight. Feel secure yet?
I suppose we should be grateful that New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton (if you think the last three words scare the hell out of you, just wait until 2004) has demanded that transportation authorities "provide answers as to how these weapons were able to make it through security systems that were supposed to be significantly upgraded since last September 11." That's a nice PR blurb from Mrs. Clinton, but if any senator actually needs an answer to this question from transportation "authorities," please remember this as reason enough why this should be the woman's first and last year holding any public office. …