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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Senate has confirmed John Pistole to serve as TSA Administrator

Whenever there is an act of air terrorism, the FBI is the lead agency. This has been a source of conflict since the creation of the TSA, which many assume is the lead agency responsible for all aviation security issues. That issue may be coming to a close now that the Senate has confirmed an FBI agent to the top TSA job. Continue Reading

Secrecy is not always bad

There seems to be a bad taste in the public’s mouth anytime someone decides to keep something secret or private. While not condoning the behavior of Tiger Woods or the rest of his ilk (I’m talking about cheaters, not professional golfers here), I’m one of those people that believe that somethings should still be kept private. Particularly when it comes to safety and security.

That’s the case with the recent debate about whether corporate aircraft operators have the right to keep their trips from becoming public. Continue Reading

Smokes on a Plane

Keeping in mind that the news reports are still coming in, let’s talk about what we know so far about the smokes-on-a-plane story developing at Denver International Airport. From what has been reported it appears that a Qatari man, possibly a diplomat, was arrested after making a comment about trying to light his shoe on… Continue Reading

Jihad Jane: we could see this coming

As reported in USAToday, we now have American citizens actively engaged in the Jihad cause. This is not completely new as we have had others, like John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban, who was caught shortly after 9/11 in Afghanistan, but what is new is that the threat is now much closer to home.

This sort of “insider” threat is a natural outgrowth of a terrorist movement. Historically, in many of these types of movements, there is an eventual sympathy for the “bad guys.” Most often this results in political change or political pressure to either end a conflict, or make some other sort of social change. However, in extreme cases it results in recruits to the cause. The Internet makes recruiting, training and equipping insider terrorists that much easier. Unfortunately, this internal threat is now in the U.S. But is there a solution? Continue Reading

Obama picks Harding to head TSA

In the aftermath of the attempt to get Erroll Southers confirmed President Obama has finally selected another person to head the TSA, Robert Harding.

I must admit, I do now know very much about Mr. Harding nor does anyone else in the aviation community.

The unfortunate fact is that we’ve NEVER had anyone from inside the aviation industry run TSA.

The good news about Harding that I can see on it’s face, is that he comes from a strong intelligence background. That’s a key component in ANY aviation security system, and in any security system period. Continue Reading

Another threat, another box

The problem with new threats to aviation is that every time there is another threat, we get a new box at the checkpoint. At some point, we’re going to run out of space before we run out of threats.

While many in the industry, particularly TSA Federal Security Directors (FSD), are excited about the deployment of the whole body imagers, there are just as many people who are trying to figure out where to put them — they are called Airport Security Coordinators (ASC).

The WBI’s are about 3x as large as a walk-thru metal detector and take about 10x as long to process a passenger. There are two issues here. First, space. Second, time. Continue Reading

Suicide by Small Plane

We’re heard the term before – suicide-by-cop. This is where someone threatens the police with a gun to get the police to kill the individual. On February 18, we witnessed suicide-by-small-plane. We did not witness a terrorist attack. We barely witnessed an attack on a government building. Had Stack intended on causing mass casualties, he certainly did not pick an effective tool for the job.

What does this say about general aviation security? Should we be concerned? Want the solution? Read on. Continue Reading

Plane crashes into office building

The word is just coming out now about an airplane that crashed into an office building in Austin, TX.

Already the reporting is all over the place about the intentions of the pilot, how the plane was flying (“full throttle” by one account, but how does someone on the ground know the throttle settings of an plane?). Just like the Cory Liddle crash into an apartment in Manhattan, there is a ton of speculation going on.

General aviation security has been an issue for many years, with arguments on both sides about whether more security is needed. I’m sure this will also re-energize the Large Aircraft Security Program discussion.

First, understand that this has happened before. In 1994, a man stole a small Cessna aircraft and flew it into the White House. In 2002, a 16-year-old stole a Cessna 172 and flew it into the Bank of America building. Continue Reading

Jihadists continue to look for aviation security weaknesses

According to a CBS news report Jihadists continue to attempt to exploit gaps in aviation security. One website invites members to post methods of circumventing aviation security and how to bypass screening, while others ask about the capabilities of screening detection equipment. On one site a visitor asks a question involving the whole body imagers:… 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