Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Risking Lives

So much for airport security.

Checkpoint security screeners at Denver International Airport last month failed to find liquid explosives packed in carry-on luggage and also improvised explosive devices, or IED's, worn by undercover agents sources told 9NEWS.

The problem here is simple-

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners failed most of the covert tests because of human error, sources told 9NEWS. Alarms went off on the machines, but sources said screeners violated TSA standard operating procedures and did not hand-search suspicious luggage, wand, or pat down the undercover agents.

Security simply not doing their job. The danger with terrorism is that we have to be constantly vigilant- they only need to get it right once to kill hundreds and possibly thousands of innocent people.

Sources told 9NEWS the Red Team was able to sneak about 90 percent of simulated weapons past checkpoint screeners in Denver. In the baggage area, screeners caught one explosive device that was packed in a suitcase. However later, screeners in the baggage area missed a book bomb, according to sources.

"There's very little substance to security," said former Red Team leader Bogdan Dzakovic. "It literally is all window dressing that we're doing. It's big theater on TV and when you go to the airport. It's just security theater."

It actually seems that the security in place is ridiculously bad- something that cannot possibly be justified post-9/11. Everyone knows the risks involved and for the TSA to be so negligent is criminal.

Dzakovic, who is currently a TSA inspector, said security is no better today [than before 9/11].

"It's worse now. The terrorists can pretty much do what they want when they want to do it," he said.

The TSA disagrees for preposterous reasons-

"We have a very robust program of which we are very proud, in which we utilize testing at all of our airports every single day," said Morris.

The security chief says he expects screeners to fail the Red Team tests because they are difficult.

"We could put these tests together so that we have a 100 percent success rate every single time," said Morris. "Then, they wouldn't be challenging, they wouldn't be realistic and they really wouldn't be stretching the limits and the imagination of the Transportation Security Officer."

In other words, the tests are based on what could actually happen and the TSA is ill-equipped to provide any kind of real security to passengers flying by air. They expect to fail tests that mirror reality and he has the gall to talk about it as some kind of "learning experience".

However, tests done by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2006 found widespread failures. According to the GAO, screeners at 15 airports missed 90 percent of the explosives and guns agents tried to sneak past checkpoints.

Also, a Denver woman who carries a Taser for personal protection, told 9NEWS she carried it on board airplanes last year six times. Her Taser shoots 500,000 volts of electricity. She says the TSA never caught it and stopped her.

Even worse, the funding required to hire more screening staff was buried in the "get out of Iraq" legislation that will be vetoed by Bush. If Congress was serious about this they wouldn't have done that but then again partisan politics trumping national security seems to be how things are these days.

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