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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

TSA officers to be informed; say, there’s a thought

TSA announced today that approximately 10,000 of their workers will began the process of getting Secret clearances so they can receive better intelligence related to the current threats. While I applaud TSA’s latest action, I’m stunned that it had not been done before. Remember, the passengers on United 93 were INFORMED about what the true intent of the hijackers was and that ENABLED them to take appropriate action. The passengers on the other flights did not have that data. Continue Reading

Hands down the pants, hands down the pants, looking like a fool with your hands down your pants!

Recently, travelers in Canada have been asked to stick their hands down their pants, or in their pockets, so that screeners can swab their hands (after the fact) to determine if there is residue from explosives. Also, according to one CATSA official (Canada’s version of the TSA) the “hands down the pants,” procedures is an international aviation security practice. Maybe that “pants on the ground” guy on American Idol can come up with some new lyrics to describe how foolish aviation security is getting. Continue Reading

Why TSA’s credibility is always questioned

An article in USAToday explains exactly why TSA’s credibility is always questioned, particularly by those in the aviation industry.

The article discusses the new whole body imagers and their potential impact on airport passenger flow and screening lines. The TSA representative, despite educated opinions from actual airport operators, says that the new technologies will not slow down passenger flow because the length of time people spend at the checkpoints is actually a factor of how long it takes to put their bags through the x-ray machine, not going through the magnetometer.

This is why TSA has such low credibility with airport and airline operators. This type of thinking is reflective of policy makers who do not know enough to listen to the people actually running the systems and implementing the technologies — i.e. the real experts. Continue Reading

Air cargo screening deadlines may be tough to meet

While Northwest Flight 253 has been making many of the security headlines lately, there is another debate going on that is drawing less attention, but is very important. By this year, the industry is expected to be conducting 100% screening of air cargo placed on a commercial aircraft, and it’s looking less and less like that deadline may be achieved. Continue Reading

Mishandled Aircraft Bomb Threat

The news is just starting to emerge that the airport may have mishandled Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas day. The core issue is this — it comes back to education AGAIN. Procedures were not followed. TSA had watch list failures. The air carrier and airport had operational and procedural failures. Everyone in industry needs to be as educated on aviation security as they are on aviation safety issues. Continue Reading

ALPA has a point

The Air Line Pilots Association have a point. In their recently released White Paper on “Meeting Today’s Aviation Security Needs: A Call to Action for a Trust-Based Security System” ALPA calls for a risk-based assessment of passengers as a security methodology, rather than a religious reliance on technology.

This is exactly what every aviation security expert worth their salt has been calling for and it’s time to start paying attention. Otherwise, attacks will continue, aviation will lose more of its benefit, and it will cost everyone more and more money — and it doesn’t need to.

Sadly, I’m not sure what it will take for us to make this mode shift. We’ve been attacked over and over and continue to rely on what is only slightly effective. Continue Reading

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