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What security deficiencies allowed this to happen?

What security deficiencies allowed this to happen?

Sep 13th, 2001, 07:49 PM
Posts: n/a
What security deficiencies allowed this to happen?

I might be missing something, but on several current posts there is talk of how bad security is in US airports. What security deficiency at Logan allowed this tragedy to happen? It sound like these planes were hijacked with implements that have less metal content than my wristwatch. I don't know how airport security can be accountable for allowing a piece of tin and a razorblade to pass through security.

If someone is willing to die in the act, I don't see how such events can truly be avoided (short of shackling all passengers until arrival).

It seems that the airline industry has to take some sort of measure to appease the public, but I fear the result will lead more to increased ticket costs and airport delays than policy that will actually eliminate tragedies like those of Tuesday.

New hardships at airport security is now certain. I will welcome them if they actually work.

If someone has heard of any measures the air travel industry is planning to implement that will prohibit suicide hijacking, please respond.

Simply "stepping up security" doesn't seem practical. Checking every bag would not have prevented these terrorists from boarding their planes.

Sep 13th, 2001, 11:22 PM
Posts: n/a

I haven't posted anything critical of anyone this week and I don't intend this to be taken that way. There area couple of posts already listing the proposed new security arrangments. Every single one of them has been in effect here for at least 20 years-we have the IRA to thank for that. When was the last time a plane out of the UK hi-jacked; and yes, I know, it didn't stop Lockerbie)

One BBC news segment last night said that Americans treat internal flights as we treat bus journeys. Appranetly proposlas to increase security were tabled in your legislature (Congress?) a few years ago but did not receive any backing at all because it would slow things up at airports.

I didn't mean to say all that. What I meant to say was-that's not what caused this. What caused it was a a bunch of inveterately evil guys who had no regard for the sanctity of life. We don't need whipping boys over this
Sep 14th, 2001, 02:02 AM
sandy c
Posts: n/a

i do agree with you. i just don't think any of us could have imagined that this would happen.

speculating on how it "was allowed" to happen just won't help. i think we would be more productive in saying, "what can we now do to make sure it never happens again".

and in saying that, i also feel or worry that the answer would be "not much". fanatics are going to be out there and they are going to find ways around just about anything.

i do think, knowing what we now know, that our domestic flights need to be more secure to keep this from happening if at all possible. i am willing to be much more patient and understanding.

i know there is alot of speculation on "how could they have allowed this to happen". i really don't think that helps.

i really don't think that we could beat up the airport personnel or fbi anymore than they are already beating up on themselves. and i am sure they are looking at everything to find out what clues or signs that they missed.

i will tell you, that i feel for true arab american citizens right now. they are going to be going thru some horrendous indignities in airports in the coming days. i can only hope they will be understanding and patient with all of us.

this thing with the knives, listen, before today, they served 1st class meals with real metal knives and forks. the terrorists didn't have to bring a single weapon on board. they had a 100 at their fingertips. the analogy on tv is true. all it would take would be a ballpoint pen at the throat of another. concentrating on knives only is simply not realistic. weapons are everywhere in everyday simple things. it is scary how much our eyes are opened after tuesday.
Sep 14th, 2001, 03:16 AM
Posts: n/a
First of all - YES - airports and airport procedures ARE somewhat to blame for this. I live in Boston and I have personally SEEN the lax security at Logan. All of the agents who inspect luggage are low-paid (mostly) immigrants who barely speak english (ha - the irony of it!).
A guy on talk radio here yesterday said he is a contractor who works on planes. When he does work at Logan - he shows up and is met by a JANITOR who does NOT ask for ID....takes him AROUND the metal detectors and out to the tarmac and on the planes to do his work. He has been doing this for TWO YEARS and has never been asked for an ID!!!! So much for security at Logan.
As for the rest of the problem - -i.e. - what people take on board with them..........What's to stop someone from stabbing someone with a pen or pencil???.....or strangling someone with their shoelace????.......bottom line is...we will never be completely safe from terrorism.
I think we should start by expelling ALL foreignors from this country (from countries identified as having terrorist ties)...and ceasing to admit foreignors from these same countries unless they have PROOF that they have a legitimate purpose here.
Sep 14th, 2001, 04:57 AM
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First off i am so sad at Chris whose xenophobic rantings have no placve here. Unless you are a native american you or your ancestors were a foriengner here. And if you were a native american, after the first wave of immigrants over the bering sea, the rest were foreigners too.

I flew on Monday. When i went thru the security screening, i was going to put my cell phone thru the xray machine. The guard said dont bother let me see it. I told her that the battery was dead and she would not be able to check it. she said thats okay. it could have been a fake with plastic explosives in it enough to blow a hole is a plane and crash it. She was seemingly a native born american who had a good command of the language. she just didi not take her minimum wage job seriously. This is the level of security that we allow at the airports. By the way, the security is privatized and is maintained by the airport owners and the airlines. We simply cannot let the private sector determine the level of security we get in an airport.

In 1996 al gore headed a comission on airline safety where using hijacked planes as flying bombs was discussed as a tactic. The first time this was attempted was a French airliner where the terrorists were going to crash the plane into the eiffle tower. That was in 1994. so much for no one being able to anticipate this tactic.

A passenger on a south west flight kicked in the door to the cabin of the flight deck. the passengers on the plane restrained the attacker and actually killed him. The reccomendation was for all jets to have reinforced metal doors on the flight deck. Again, the airlines, in the name of cost, said no and the government caved in. If we had this the planes could not have been taken over. but the friendly skies was more concerned with the bottom line than our safety.

How did this happen? We let it by not caring about safety enough to pay for it. Freedom is not free and we need to have a completely different attitude about things. I have flown el al and they have real security. They ahve not had as many planes hijacked as we have because they are committed to not having planes hijacked. I have flown United europe and the security there makes ours look like a joke. every airpost i have been in in europe (de gaulle in paris and rome, milan, venice, bologna in italy have armed guards with machine guns. we have minimum wage employees with a lack of training. think about it when you hear teh free market right wing republicant praise the private sector that contributed so strongly to what happened.

i hope this makes you think
Sep 14th, 2001, 05:44 AM
Wake Up
Posts: n/a
Yes, I think you're missing something, because you're not asking the right question.

The question is not "Who missed these box cutters?" The question is first, should we act to reduce the possibility that something like this could happen again, and if so, how?

The answer has to be that we need redundant layers of security. This means that you have many different security precautions so that even if one level is foiled, the bad guy will be snared at the next level. So, for instance, you might decide to ban large carry-on bags (to streamline the task of searching people and their things), submit all carry-ons to a meticulous hand search, require X-ray screening by trained personnel, hand metal detector screening, thorough searches of all planes before boarding, checks to make sure no unaccompanied luggage is traveling, background checks on all security personnel, and of course, air marshalls as the last measure to prevent hijacks with ordinary items like razor blades.

What we don't need, Jon, is a "business as usual" attitude. IMHO, this is a new day in America, just the way the Kennedy assassination was a new day in terms of our commitment to protect the president. We should start treating airport security with the same vigor we use to protect our president. It can be done.
Sep 14th, 2001, 05:46 AM
Posts: n/a
hi dean,
hee's something to make you think ... some of the cell phone reports explained that pilots were lured from the cockpit by terrorists murdering flight attendants - now whether we payed for the expensive steel doors, or not, it really would not have made a difference. also, you can pay baggage security watchers $70,000/year to take their job more seriously, but they still would not have seen anything, since there were no guns or bombs involved. botton line is, as long as we fly,and as long as there is this sort of insanity among certain people, there are risks to be taken. procedures certainly need to be chaged, but not at a cost to our way of life ... changing our way of life and our freedoms is exactly what these hijjackers and terrorists want.
Sep 14th, 2001, 06:00 AM
Posts: n/a
Actually, Lillipad, what the terrorists want is for us to beat our chests in unison, wave our flag, and do nothing at all to fundamentally change airport security.

The arrests in NY today prove that the terrorists are not finished with us yet, and we have to decide whether we're going to make their job easy or make it hard.

You and Jon are right that a band-aid won't fix these gaping security deficiencies. But a serious commitment to security has a fighting chance, so all this talk about how we shouldn't sacrifice our "way of life" is a crock. Unless our "way of life" is allowing thousands of people to be blown up so we can avoid the expense and inconvenience of world-class airport security.

Sorry to be so abrupt with you all, but I've heard three days of this now, and this needed to be said.
Sep 14th, 2001, 06:06 AM
Posts: n/a
For some reason, I've been thinking about all the "street crime/pickpocketing" threads that used to appear here and putting them next to the lax security at American airports.

The answer to whatever riddle there is in trying to reconcile those two thoughts lies in attitude.

Americans have an attitude that quality of life revolves around personal freedom. It is more than an attitude, it is a belief.

At some level, we believe that we should be able walk out of our unlocked house, get into an unlocked car, and drive through quiet streets to board our airplanes without being challenged by criminals or government -- which we have come to equate with evil and criminality -- alike. If we can't, someone should be to blame.

How often I have heard people reject the idea of heightened security in schools by saying "we don't want this to be an armed camp, this is America!" And then there's the irony that one of the reasons we need the heightened security is that others are saying "we don't want to have to control guns, this is America!"

I think at some perverse level, we were proud of our unencumbered airports and somewhat scornful of the security in European airports as evidence of both paranoia and disorderly politics in another region of the world. We saw the lack of effort to deal with pickpocketing as evidence of a similar lack of reverence for personal freedom.

Yes, isolationism is a shorthand term for some of that. But it is more a combination of ethos and credo. When Americans chant "freedom," they are not really focused on being able to elect a government -- less than 1/2 of us actually vote. They mean freedom to move and act without stricture of government OR fear of unlawful personal assault. Without needing to spend any money on it, in order to preserve money for personal use. And without having to worry at all about any of it.

The deficiencies at Logan only facilitated the arrangements of the lawless barbarians at our gates. Shoring up the gates is necessary, doable, and will be done.

I'm afraid that until Tuesday, their fear of the former -- governmental stricture -- outweighed their ability to imagine that personal liberty could be forfeit by the thousands in one morning.

But shoring up our understanding about who is at the gates, about why other people have strengthened their gates long since, about what it will mean to say "this is America!" in the 21st century -- I'm not sure that will be anywhere near as easy.
Sep 14th, 2001, 06:15 AM
Posts: n/a
It does no good to blame airports nor security personnel for Tuesday's disaster. The terrorists' weapons, those knives and boxcutters, were perfectly legal at the time and even the most conscientious, letter-of-the-law screener might have let them through. The law allowed for knives with blades up to 4 inches long to be permitted as carry-on items. Furthermore, razor blades, the key component of box-cutters, are in fact still allowed today.

It's a bizarre world we live in -- none of the new FAA precautions could possibly prevent a repeat of Tuesday's events.

I think our only solution is to bring back the air marshalls.
Sep 14th, 2001, 06:16 AM
Posts: n/a
I REALLY don't understand how people can say that security at European airports is so much stricter than at those in America, based on those airports I have been in. I see no differences at all between Dulles and Heathrow. The only difference I've seen is at the Belfast airports, where everyone (not just passengers) gets patted down as they pass through the metal detector upon entering the airport (and they used to have an army checkpoint outside the airport). In addition, haven't seen any additional security measures taken at Gatwick, Liverpool or in Amsterdam (this is the extent of my European airports).

Two weeks ago, when flying to Kansas City out of National Airport in D.C., I was randomly stopped at the security check point, and the security guards did some test to my bag that I had never seen--something with a specially treated piece of paper that than ran over my bag. I've never seen that any where else.

Why are people blaming everyone but the people who did this?
Sep 14th, 2001, 06:24 AM
Posts: n/a
In my experience security at many European airports is much more thorough, from having to show your ticket and passport two or more times to a more thorough questioning at checkin and the gate. My most recent experience what Schiphol in Amsterdam and these comments apply.
Sep 14th, 2001, 06:27 AM
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My experience with European security includes London (both Heathrow and Gatwick) and Charles Degaulle.

All 3 let me through with a Swiss Army knife with a 2.5-inch blade, with no questions at all.

I bet there's no airport that forbids razor blades to be carried on!
Sep 14th, 2001, 06:30 AM
Posts: n/a
Has anyone heard the story about the Northwest employees who brought knives thru security just to show that people still weren't paying attention even with "increased" security? And a NW pilot also walked through a checkpoint without showing ID to prove the same point. I think these three people are brilliant for taking this step and that all airlines should adopt a policy of regular "audits" like this. The story I read was brief, but apparently the airline was very upset at the three who pulled this off. Shouldn't they have apologized for this and put more emphasis on the "security" employees who let them through?

On another note on European security, my mother went to Paris a few months ago. She said she was questioned by two different security people about the 2" blade Swiss army knife she had in her purse, but she didn't look threatening (5'1", 66 yrs old) so they let her take it on.
Sep 14th, 2001, 06:48 AM
Posts: n/a
I saw an interview this morning related to the incident involving NorthWest airlines in Phoenix. The facts are not as were reported.

The airline employees were flight attendants. Flight attendants are issued corkscrews that they bring on the flights. These FAs presented themselves at baggage screening and they had their corkscrews in their pockets as they always do. They got through security. A third FA did not have her ID with her; she was waved through anyway.

Once these FAs boarded the plane, it occurred to them that these lapses had occured. They alerted management, and the airports was evacuated, etc. They strenuously deny that they did these things as a "test;" it was just part of their normal routine in preparing for their jobs. There were no knives involved.

The airport manager displayed a box of items that had already been confiscated at the checkpoint, including a big boxcutter, a huge pair of sharp scissors. This was offered up as proof that they are screening passengers adequately, although I'm not convinced.
Sep 14th, 2001, 07:00 AM
Posts: n/a
Cindy, thanks for the update, it certainly clears up any lingering questions about corkscrews. Though it sounds like a whitewash to me!

And of course the box of sharp stuff is proof that they caught some people but not proof that they caught everyone. With logic like that, no wonder there's trouble.

On second thought, who would have been stupid enough to try to carry on a big box cutter or scissors today?? And why weren't they arrested? I'm starting to feel paranoid, that that was staged.

First class will hardly be worth it anymore, with no more steak and fine wine, eh?
Sep 14th, 2001, 07:30 AM
Posts: n/a
First of all there are literally thousands of employees working at each major airport. Think of all the caterers who deliver meals & beverages to the planes,etc. Up until now, a person with a fake ID or an actual terrorist plant (who had been hired months ago)could easily get behind or thru security.
Also, the approved reaction to terrorist hijackings up until Tuesday was to obey the terrorists until the plane could be landed & dialogs established between mediators & the terrorists. Never had anyone expected that terrorists would have planned to kill themselves as well as thousands of innocent civilians! We have been led to believe that talking can resolve all differences!
It's easy to blame "the system" but who really is "the system"? I'm sure these terrible events were years in planning!
Sep 14th, 2001, 07:54 AM
Posts: n/a
There is really a rather "simple" solution which would not involve long lines and long waits: implement the use of facial recognition technology. Casinos have been using this technology for years -- it was covered quite extensively on several Discovery Channel programs just last week -- and, I understand, it was effectively used at the last Super Bowl. At check-in, each person could be quickly and accurately scanned and compared to a database of known felons and associates of terrorist cells. As explained in the specials, the computer matches bone structure so your false beard, etc., doesn't "fool" the program. While such a system might not be foolproof, it would certainly be a vast improvement. And we wouldn't be giving up our "freedoms" since your photo is taken in casinos, at stop lights, in the local 7-11. Why not at the airport?

I must give credit to posters on one of the cruise forums for this sensible, practical suggestion.

In conjunction with this, the FAA could
strictly limit the size AND amount of carryons. Then the extra time needed to check in for the flight and clear the x-ray machines would be reduced. The time necessary to cram all that "stuff" into overheads would be reduced, people could be seated faster, and planes take off sooner.


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