[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"Airport Security, a Year Later"
Friday, September 20, 2002
Airport Security, a Year Later
The New York (NY) Times
With complaints about airport snafus on the increase as security is
tightened, the temptation is growing to soften and delay the tough new
requirements imposed after Sept. 11. That would be a terrible
disservice. With a number of deadlines approaching, the government,
airport operators and airlines should be concentrating on how to meet
the requirements, not how to dodge them.
The new head of the Transportation Security Administration, Adm. James
Loy, must not yield ground. Since his appointment in July, Mr. Loy has
made some minor and reasonable concessions, like allowing passengers to
carry drinks through security checkpoints and dropping the ineffectual
quiz about whether travelers have packed their own bags. Unlike his
predecessor, John Magaw, Mr. Loy favors a ''registered traveler''
program that could expedite scrutiny of passengers who voluntarily
undergo background checks.
But Mr. Loy cannot allow industry pressure or public impatience to stand
in the way of government efforts to upgrade airport security. Industry
pressure has already caused a failure of nerve in the House, which voted
last July to extend for one year the Dec. 31 deadline by which all
checked luggage must be screened for explosives.
The Senate Commerce Committee voted yesterday to exempt some 30 airports
-- the actual list may not be disclosed -- that would have had a hard
time installing the bulky bomb-detection machines by the deadline. While
this was not the wholesale extension approved by the House, it was
nevertheless a regrettable retreat. Mr. Loy must bring these airports
into compliance as early as possible next year.
Mr. Loy has said his agency will meet its Nov. 19 deadline for having
federal passenger screeners in place at all airports. It would help if
Congress dropped the arbitrary cap of 45,000 employees it imposed on the
In addition, beyond raising the overall level of vigilance, smarter and
more targeted security is still needed at airports. The Transportation
Security Administration is working on a second-generation
passenger-profiling computer program designed to link numerous databases
to help determine whether passengers need particularly close scrutiny. A
successful and timely deployment of this program is as crucial as the
agency's efforts to meet its deadlines for general passenger and baggage
Aviation security has been improved since last September, even if it is
still not as tight as it needs to be. Passengers can expect further
disruptions in the weeks ahead as the federal agency completes its
takeover of airport security. That is a price well worth paying if the
skies are made safer.
Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org