Category Archives: Commercial Aviation Aircraft Operator Security

Kids could be slaves; yea, it is a big deal

It seems that everyone has been quick to play down the journey of three underage travelers who decided on their own to fly from Florida to Tennessee (click here for article). Aviation experts, the airlines and TSA have all said that protocols were not violated. And, they are right.

However, the issue is not whether current protocols were violated, but whether we have the proper protocols in place. If we did, then this would have been a VERY big deal.

See, unfortunately, a hundred plus years after slavery, it seems there is still a huge problem in the human slave trade. We addressed this in Practical Aviation Security and it is a frequent topic in Aviation Security International magazine. However, human trafficking rarely makes headlines here in the U.S., even though much of the human trafficking takes place here. One of the biggest signs of human trafficking is children traveling alone. Continue Reading

Light Sabers on the prohibited item list?

I guess the first interesting question is, why are light sabers on the prohibited items list? Now, I was there in 1977 when Star Wars first came out, and I’ve seen all the movies plenty of times over — and as much as I’d love to have a light saber, they are, unfortunately, a fictional weapon. And one you cannot carry on an airplane — maybe because they are afraid that a fictional Sith Lord will try to take over the plane.

Our recent trip to Italy for vacation was of course wonderful, but as an aviation security author I can’t go to any airport without observing their security practices. What I’ve learned from our trip to Italy are three main things: the Rome Airport never forgot 1985; the people in Italy don’t seem as concerned about terrorist attacks, and you can’t take a light saber on an airplane, without attracting some suspicion. Continue Reading

Dirty Harry flies without his gun, so far

There are nearly 1 million State and Local Law Enforcement Officers (LEO’s) in the United States, however, under federal regulations many of them are not allowed to carry firearms on board a commercial aircraft. The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) has just asked the President Obama to allow appropriately certified federal, state and local officers to carry firearms on board commercial flights. Continue Reading

Who is responsible for airline security?

Ask virtually anyone on the street “who is responsible for airline security,” and the answer will most likely be, “TSA.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and could mean that airlines will have to pay more and take on more security responsibilities for their international flights.

While TSA sets forth and enforces the regulations, there are many players and many layers within the aviation security system, and it’s important to know who’s who and what’s what because it could make a difference in the security of the plane you’re on.

Recently, after the failed Christmas bombing, TSA dished out several security procedures … Continue Reading

Fixing the System

As more and more news reports begin to come out about this incident, along with the inevitable “what needs fixing,” stories, let’s take a look at what really needs fixing.

The No-Fly and TIDE List

TIDE is the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center and is a repository of information on international terrorist identities. According to a recent press report, there are about 550,000 people on the TIDE list, 14,000 on the Selectee and 4,000 on the no-fly (click here for source).

We need to continue initial efforts by TSA to clean up the no-fly and selectee list. The fact that this guy wasn’t on the no-fly list may just be an indication that he had not done enough previously to warrant being placed on the list. To screen everyone on the TIDE list however, will take more time and may potentially let the bad guys know that they are on the list. Sometimes, in law enforcement and intelligence, it’s not good to let the hunted, know they are being hunted.

Deployment of Whole Body Imagers … Continue Reading

Attempted Bombing

The attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 brings aviation security back to center stage. The attempt of course brings many questions back to the forefront about aviation security, questions I have addressed in this blog previously. So, let’s use an interview style to address what inevitably will be questions being asked at media outlets… Continue Reading