Airline bailouts, security lapses and false alarms

Note:  The subsection about the airline bailouts of 2001 has been moved to this page.

Security lapses, screener issues and false alarms:

JetBlue flight attendant who ditched 60 pounds of cocaine at airport sentenced to time served.  A former JetBlue flight attendant who ran from security after ditching 60 pounds of cocaine at Los Angeles International Airport has been sentenced to time served.

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain:  February 2018.  Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamud, a 31-year-old terror suspect with 17 aliases was found to be working at London's Heathrow Airport.  An investigation found that Mohamud lied about his criminal past — he has multiple convictions for robbery, sexual assault and money laundering — and that no full background check was conducted before he was granted access to the airport's tarmac.

Serial stowaway arrested again at Chicago's O'Hare airport.  Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says Marilyn Hartman was flown back to Chicago on Thursday night [1/18/2018] and taken into custody once she arrived.

It's time to believe tipsters when they warn us about maniacs.  The conversation eight years ago was with a man I didn't know and haven't seen since.  Yet at times like these, I remember what he said as if it were yesterday.  The man is Avi Dichter, a member of the Israeli Knesset and former head of Shin Bet, Israel's version of the FBI.  We were seated beside each other at a dinner in Tel Aviv, and the talk turned to security, especially at airports.  "The problem with you Americans," I recall Dichter saying, "is that you worry about what people are carrying in their luggage.  In Israel, we worry about who the people are."  Bingo.  "Who the people are" is the essence of Israeli security — and what is missing from America's.

TSA screenings fail to spot weapons most of the time, agency says.  An undercover operation has revealed that Transportation Security Administration screenings at airports fail for the most part.  Homeland Security investigators found that, more than 70 percent of the time, undercover officers were able to get through TSA checkpoints with mock knives, guns and explosives, the House Homeland Security Committee was told Wednesday.  Just two years ago, testing found a 95 percent failure rate, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.  "We found that briefing disturbing," said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.  The DHS Office of Inspector General made eight classified recommendations based on the undercover operation.  In a statement, the TSA said it took the "OIG findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints."

The TSA Flunks Yet Another Airport Security Test; How Many More Chances Will It Get?  Anyone standing in an endless security line at the airport can at least take comfort in the fact that it's keeping air travel safe.  Right?  Wrong.  It turns out that the government-run TSA repeatedly fails to do its job properly.

Why take Somali "community leaders" on an exclusive airport-security tour?  In his March 29, 2016 Star Tribune story, Stephen Montemayor reported in passing that local imams and Muslim "community leaders" had received a "behind-the-scenes security tour" in February last year at MSP. Montemayor mentioned the tour when he noted that Hassan Mohamud — also known as "Sheikh Hassan," an imam working as a legal assistant for one of the defendants — had been "uninvited" from the tour.  What was that tour for Muslims only all about?  I asked MSP spokesman Patrick Hogan, who Hogan referred me to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agencies under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  A TSA spokesman denied knowledge (wrongly, as it turned out).

Dry run
Was it a Muslim who breached security at Miami International Airport?  Pretending to talk on a cellphone, a man at Miami International Airport was caught on video jumping onto a luggage carousel on Saturday.  If you pause the video below at 0:21, you can get a good look at his bearded face.  The footage shows him casually strolling past an empty security checkpoint at the American Airlines ticket counter and then diving into a luggage conveyor belt.

Minneapolis airport fails 95 percent of security tests, sources say.  When put to the test, Minneapolis-St.  Paul International Airport failed 95 percent of security tests conducted at the airport last week, according to Fox 9 sources.  Last Thursday [6/29/2017], what's referred to as the "Red Team" in town from Washington D.C., posed as passengers and attempted to sneak items through security that should easily be caught.  In most cases, they succeeded in getting the banned items though.  17 out of 18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected.

Bay Area airport screener pleads guilty to taking bribes.  A supervisor screener who used to work at San Francisco International Airport pleaded guilty to receiving a bribe and turning a blind eye as 50 pounds of cocaine went through his X-ray machine.

UA 93 Hijacker Entered US 7 Times — on 'Tourist' Visa.  On the face of it, [Ziad] Jarrah was a clean-cut young man from a wealthy Muslim family in Lebanon, who had moved to Germany to be a student — and only wanted to visit this free and beautiful country as a tourist.  In reality, he was an al-Qaida operative dispatched by Osama bin Laden to carry out the worst terrorist attack in the history of our nation.  In the 15 months before 9/11, Jarrah came and went from the United States at will — entering this country on deceitful terms no less than seven times.  After his first entry, according to a staff report of the 9/11 Commission, he instantly violated the terms of his visa.  Yet, again and again, he was welcomed at U.S. airports and granted entry to the United States.

New Generation Of Bombs Undetectable By Airport Scanners:  What's The Solution?  [Scroll down]  Technology chasing technology only goes so far.  For all the time spent harassing a new mom about baby formula, we could be using those hours to interview a 20-year-old "quiet" male with no real friends and an extensive Facebook trail to a Pakistani ISP.

Flight took off with erratic passenger despite red flags.  A man acted strangely long before he caused a disturbance on a plane that prompted fighter jets to accompany it to Hawaii, but a lack of communication and an airline's hesitancy to be caught on video booting a passenger could have played a role in allowing him to fly, experts say.  Anil Uskanli, 25, of Turkey, had purchased a ticket at an airline counter in the middle of the night with no luggage and had been arrested after opening a door to a restricted airfield at Los Angeles International Airport.

11 people get through TSA checkpoint without screening at JFK: Report.  Eleven people got through security without being screened Monday morning [2/20/2017] at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to an NBC News report.  Transportation Security Administration officials in Terminal 5 left a security lane open and unmanned, allowing 11 people to walk through without being checked, officials told NBC.  A review of the surveillance footage showed that three people set off metal detectors but proceeded through security without question, NBC reported.

Muslim man found with pipe bomb in his luggage is allowed to fly only days later.  43-year-old Nadeem Muhammed was boarding a Ryanair flight with a pipe bomb in his luggage, but was allowed to fly a few days later.  According to a report on Jihad Watch, he was arrested by police on suspicion of terrorism after "batteries wrapped in brown tape" was found in his bag.  However, he was released on bail and allowed to travel after allegedly telling officers the device had been planted by someone else.

Transient sneaks onto jet, caught smoking a cigarette before being arrested.  An Associated Press investigation showed that, nationally, people get past airport perimeter security more often than authorities publicly acknowledge.

ISIS teen who killed priest passed background check for airport job.  A French Islamic State fanatic who ended up murdering a Catholic priest "easily" passed a police investigation to become an airport baggage handler, it was revealed today [7/29/2016].  Abdelmalik Petitjean and Adel Kermiche, both 19, were on terrorist watchlists when they slit Father Jacques Hamel's throat in Normandy on Tuesday.  Now it has emerged that Petitjean worked full-time at Chambery airport in the Savoie region, which is used by more than 250,000 passengers a year including many Britons, until just three months ago.  He started as a porter there in December after completing his baccalaureate at the Marlioz high school in nearby Aix-les-Bains, where he lived.

How Safe Is Your Airport?  Airport security is severely lacking in many locations around the world, and yesterday's [6/28/2016] attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport showed how vulnerable Europe's third airport was.  Europe's public airports areas are relatively open compared with some facilities in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia where travelers and their documents are checked before they even enter the airport building. [...] "If you provide a system of security circles, your ability to locate a passenger that is supposed to be suspicious is six kilometers before he entered the terminal building," said Pini Schiff, the head of security chief at Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel's international airport located close to Tel Aviv.

He's accused of war crimes in Somalia.  Now he works security at a U.S. airport.  An accused war criminal living in the United States is now working as a security guard at Dulles International Airport near Washington, DC.  A CNN investigation found that Yusuf Abdi Ali, who is accused of committing atrocities while he was a military commander during Somalia's brutal civil war, has been living a quiet life near the nation's capital for about 20 years.  He is just one of more than 1,000 accused war criminals living and working in the United States.

How Islamic terrorists infiltrate U.S. airport security.  The fact that a Somali Muslim war criminal booted from Canada could somehow land a job at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., appears shocking on its face — but at least six dozen other employees with suspected terror links have been caught working at U.S. airports.  A CNN investigation found that Yusuf Abdi Ali, who is accused of committing atrocities while he was a military commander during Somalia's civil war, has been living a quiet suburban life in posh Alexandria, Virginia, for about 20 years, CNN reported.

Ben Gurion: the world's most secure airport?  As security concerns mount at international airports, more security officials are turning to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport to understand what it does differently.  The airport, considered one of the safest in the world, has layers of security, only partially visible to the 16 million passengers who pass through every year.

Intruders breach US airport fences every 10 days, report says.  Under pressure to prevent people from sneaking onto runways and planes at major U.S. airports, authorities are cracking down not on the intruders who slip through perimeter gates or jump over fences, but on the release of information about the breaches.

Flight delayed when math mistaken for terrorism by passenger.  American Airlines confirms that a woman expressed suspicions about University of Pennsylvania economics professor Guido Menzio.  He was flying from Philadelphia to Syracuse on Thursday [5/5/2016] to give a talk at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada.  He was working on a differential equation, but said he was told the woman thought he might be a terrorist because of what he was writing. [...] Menzio told the paper he was troubled by the women's ignorance as well as "a security protocol that is too rigid — in the sense the once the whistle is blown everything stops without checks — and relies on the input of people who may be completely clueless."

The Editor says...
At least two factors led to this situation:  (1) The poorly educated masses don't recognize math symbols and nomenclature when they see them, and (2) everybody at the airport is suspicious of everybody else.

Close Airport Security Gap:  Screen Workers.  The Senate has passed an aviation security bill requiring tougher vetting of airport workers to thwart attacks on airports like the bombings in Brussels.  Obama should waste no time signing this bill.

Only 3 US Airports Screen Employees Daily Before Work.  At Senate Commerce Committee session, lawmakers heard that only three airports in the United States require their employees to undergo a security check before they begin their work day.  "Atlanta, Miami, Orlando.  What about the other 297 airports nationwide?" asked committee co-chair Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida).  TSA (Transportation Security Administration) head Robert Neffenger answered that while the TSA has "increased the inspection of employees five-fold in the last five months," more needs to be done.  Neffenger said that all airports were asked to provide a report by the end of the month assessing their vulnerabilies.

Only 3 U.S. Airports Require Employee Security Checks.  Less than a month after a news outfit reported that dozens of airport employees around the country have potential ties to terrorists, officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admit that only three airports in the United States require workers to undergo security checks.  The astounding admission, delivered this week before Congress, comes on the heels of a number of cases involving gun and drug-smuggling schemes operated by airline employees at major airports, including those located in Atlanta, New York and San Francisco.

At least Fifty ISIS supporters are working as baggage handlers, cleaners and catering staff at Brussels airport, claim police.  Police at Brussels airport have claimed at least 50 Islamic State supporters are working there as baggage handlers, cleaners and catering staff.  In an astonishing open letter, the officers said they have warned about the terrorist sympathisers whose security badges give them access to planes, but they remain employed.  The airport police, who are threatening to go on strike because of security deficiencies, also said they have raised the issue of terrorists scouting the airport to plan possible attacks.

50 ISIS sympathizers working at Brussels airport, warns police union.  As many as 50 ISIS supporters have infiltrated the same Brussels airport where terror attacks occurred last month, working as cleaners, caterers and baggage handlers and positioning themselves for new attacks, the Belgian police union warned in an open letter to the government.  "Even today, there are at least 50 supporters of ISIS who work at the airport," read the letter from union secretary Alain Peeters to the Belgian Interior Ministry and reported by the Daily Mail.  "They have a security badge and have access to the cockpit of a plane."

Judge Orders Coke Bust Flight Attendant Back to California.  The flight attendant who allegedly ditched $3 million worth of cocaine at the Los Angeles airport and went on the run will be flying back to California in the custody of U.S. Marshals.  A federal judge in New York, where former beauty queen Marsha Gay Reynolds had surrendered, had approved a $500,000 bail package for her on Thursday [3/24/2016], but prosecutors immediately appealed.

Flight attendant leaves 70 pounds of coke at TSA checkpoint.  Normally, flight crews using that gate get minimal scrutiny.  But the nervous drug mule got unlucky — and was randomly chosen to have her bags inspected.  Realizing she was on the brink of being busted, cops said the female flight attendant got nervous.  She used her cell phone to make a call to someone, speaking in a language that the agents did not recognize as English or Spanish.  As security escorted her the front of the screening area, she finally came to the conclusion that the jig was up — and took off running, according to police.  She made it about 15 feet with her carry-on bags before ditching them — leaving behind a large cache of dope.

Brilliant: NYC Airport Allowed International Flights to Arrive Without Going Through Customs.  Over the weekend the New York Daily News reported that, "JFK allowed passengers arriving on international flight to exit without going through Customs".  Reading through the article, one finds that it wasn't just customs that was bypassed, meaning that any contraband articles got through; it was also the immigration checks, meaning not only that excludable aliens got through, but that even legitimate nonimmigrant travelers are now free to roam around the United States without any official limits to their stay — in fact, without any official record that they ever entered.

Guard dogs without teeth:
Guidance to unarmed aviation police: Run and hide.  Hundreds of police officers at one of the country's busiest airports say in the case of an active shooter, they are instructed to run and hide.  That's because these officers are unique among the nation's major airports:  They don't carry guns.  Their badges, uniforms and vehicles all say "police."  And they are certified police officers in the state of Illinois.  But these nearly 300 aviation police officers, also known as aviation security officers, are not allowed to carry guns at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports.

Chicago Airport Police Told To 'Run And Hide' During Active Shooter Situation.  The nearly 300 unarmed police officers patrolling Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports have been told to "run and hide" during active shootings.  Internal aviation department documents obtained by CNN instruct officers not "to become part of the response" to an attack.  "If evacuation is not possible, you should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.  Block entry to your hiding place and lock the door," but Matt Brandon, secretary-treasurer of the airport officers union, told CNN they have serious issues with the protocol.

57 Paris Airport Workers Are On Terror Watch List.  The Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris has forced France to examine its security policies, including at the Charles de Gaulle Airport, where it was recently discovered that 57 employees who had access to airplanes and runways were on a terror watch list.  Now, the security passes of 86,000 workers at the Paris airport will be reviewed, according to a report by the Sunday Times of London.

Airport-Security Shock: 'Crew Can Be Infiltrated'.  The downing of a Russian jet in Egypt's Sinai Desert on Oct. 31 by the Islamic State group has exposed gaping holes in U.S. airport security.  Authorities say a local baggage handler at Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt planted a bomb inside a soda can that killed all 224 passengers aboard Metrojet Airbus 321-200.  The revelation has sparked renewed scrutiny of a June 4 report by the Department of Homeland Security, which found 73 aviation workers employed by airlines and vendors had alleged ties to terrorism.  Risk management expert Vernon L.  Grose told WND on Monday that U.S. airport security is still woefully lacking 14 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

150 on flight from Mexico allowed to skip customs, leave JFK airport.  Airline and security officials at Kennedy Airport let 150 passengers arriving from an international flight leave the airport without going through customs, the [New York] Daily News has learned.

American Airlines officials allow passengers on a flight from Mexico to skip customs and leave JFK airport.  Officials allowed passengers arriving from Mexico to skip customs and leave John F. Kennedy airport without having their passports or bags checked — days after ISIS threatened an attack on New York City.  The incident involved American Airlines Flight 1671, which landed in the city from Cancun at 8.50pm on Friday [11/20/2015].  A spokesman for the airline told Daily Mail Online that there had been 74 passengers on the flight and 'some' passengers did not go through immigration or customs before leaving the airport — although declined to reveal an exact figure.

Woman talks her way past security, enters cockpit of plane at Illinois airport.  A woman was able to talk her way past a security guard at an Illinois airport Wednesday and enter the cockpit of a private plane before she was caught and taken to a hospital for psychiatric observation, authorities said.  Sauget, Illinois police say the 38-year-old St. Louis woman entered a 20-seat Global Express plane on the tarmac of the St. Louis Downtown Airport about 4 a.m. Wednesday [8/5/2015].

Intoxicated air traffic controller found shirtless, unconscious on floor of control tower.  OK, raise your hand if you've ever had the kind of night out that stretches into the next morning, the kind where you don't greet the new day as much as you just try not to barf on its shoes?  And keep those hands up if you've ever stumbled into work still drunk, taken your shirt off and then passed out facedown in your own office?  Just you, Philip Maschek?  The 50-year-old Arkansas air traffic controller was arrested after one of his coworkers found him unconscious on the floor of the control tower at the Springdale Municipal Airport last Thursday morning [7/16/2015] (the police report says he was found "passed out in his chair with his shirt off" — either way, it's not good).

46 Indicted on Charges Related to Smuggling Drugs on Flights.  Dozens of people are facing charges related to smuggling drugs into several U.S. cities on commercial flights from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, federal prosecutors said Wednesday [7/15/2015].

More Airport Security Badges Missing as Pols Demand Answers.  Washington lawmakers are demanding an accounting of how many airport security badges have been lost or stolen around the country as an NBC News investigation reveals the problem may be bigger than originally thought.  "Clearly there are an awful lot of things falling through the cracks and there's just no room for error when it comes to this issue.  We need answers.  They're not providing them," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who chairs the Transportation Committee.

FBI: Computer expert briefly made plane fly sideways.  A computer security expert hacked into a plane's in-flight entertainment system and made it briefly fly sideways by telling one of the engines to go into climb mode.  Chris Roberts of One World Labs in Denver was flying on the plane at the time it turned sideways, according to an FBI search warrant filed in April.

Federal Safety Inspector Arrested After Allegedly Flying With Gun in Bag.  A Federal Aviation Administration safety inspector was arrested at New York's LaGuardia Airport after a firearm was allegedly found in his carry-on bag at the security checkpoint, the TSA announced today [1/17/2015].  The TSA said in a statement it was investigating along with the FAA and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department.

Georgia Airline Worker Arrested in Gun Smuggling Plot.  An Atlanta airline baggage handler suspected of helping smuggle firearms onto passenger jets to New York City has been arrested by federal agents, authorities said Monday [12/22/2014].

Side-by-side with a future terrorist at MSP Airport.  The Fox 9 Investigators learned that of three men recruited from Minnesota to fight for either ISIS or al-Shabaab all once held jobs at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and each hold security clearances that gave them access to parts of the airport a traveler will never see.  When exactly these men were radicalized is unclear.  The good news:  It doesn't appear the airport was ever their intended target.  The bad news:  Experts fear that scenario may be just a matter of time.

Airport baggage handlers booked on theft charges after guns, electronics go missing from luggage.  Three baggage handlers at Louis Armstrong International Airport were arrested Thursday (Sept. 24) in connection with the theft of guns and electronics from checked luggage, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said in a news release.  Neishel Santana, 22 was booked on charges of theft and possession of stolen property.  Derrin James, 19, was booked on two counts of theft of a firearm.  Romalice Honeycutt, 23, was booked on a charge of being a principal to theft of a firearm.  They were caught after Dallas law enforcement, investigating the theft of a laptop from luggage on an American Airlines flight out of New Orleans, found out through a pawn-shop database that the computer had been sold at Jefferson Parish pawn shop and contacted local authorities.

Security at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Questions began to emerge after Fox 9 News revealed that an alleged terrorist spent a decade working at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Now, details of shoddy security are coming out too.

Passport officers aren't too good at spotting fake photos.  If you've been lucky enough to enjoy a vacation this summer, you've most likely handed your photo ID over to a TSA agent (or your own country's equivalent).  But according to a study published Monday in PLOS ONE, endless practice hasn't turned them into human passport-scanning machines.  In fact, the people responsible for checking photo identification all day might not be any better at recognizing a mismatched face than you are.

TSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID, Says Border Patrol Union.  Illegal aliens are being allowed to fly on commercial airliners without valid identification, according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC).  "The aliens who are getting released on their own recognizance are being allowed to board and travel commercial airliners by simply showing their Notice to Appear forms," NBPC's Local 2455 Spokesman, Hector Garza, told Breitbart Texas.

TSA Attacks Breitbart Texas Report of Illegals Being Allowed to Fly Without ID.  The Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) claims that Breitbart News' report that TSA officials are allowing illegal aliens to fly on commercial airlines without valid identification and by simply showing their Notice to Appear forms is false and inaccurate reporting.  In a sequence of tweets between Ross Feinstein, press secretary/spokesman of the TSA, and Managing Director of Breitbart Texas, Brandon Darby, Feinstein trashed Darby's sources, saying that National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) spokesman Hector Garza and Shawn Moran, the vice president of the NBPC, are inaccurate.

Border Patrol Union: TSA 'Lying,' Changed Policy After Breitbart Report.  In a Breitbart Texas exclusive, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) directly challenged the truthfulness of public statements made by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  The TSA spokesman used social media to claim that Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby and the NBPC were lying about a recent report that the TSA is allowing illegal aliens to fly on commercial airliners without verifiable identification.

Teen stowaway shows holes in vast airport security.  Although the 15-year-old apparently wanted nothing more than to run away, his success in slipping past layers of security early Sunday morning [4/20/2014] made it clear that a determined person can still get into a supposedly safe area and sneak onto a plane.

The Editor says...
Yes, you can climb over a fence and "onto a plane" — if you don't mind riding in the wheel well, where you are very likely to be crushed when the landing gear is retracted after takeoff, or frozen to death, or asphyxiated at high altitude.

At Airports, a Misplaced Faith in Body Language.  Like the rest of us, airport security screeners like to think they can read body language.  The Transportation Security Administration has spent some $1 billion training thousands of "behavior detection officers" to look for facial expressions and other nonverbal clues that would identify terrorists.  But critics say there's no evidence that these efforts have stopped a single terrorist or accomplished much beyond inconveniencing tens of thousands of passengers a year.  The T.S.A. seems to have fallen for a classic form of self-deception:  the belief that you can read liars' minds by watching their bodies.

Passengers on international flight bypass immigration after plane arrives at the wrong terminal.  International flight security concerns have been raised as passengers on board a flight from London to New York's JFK were left to bypass immigration when the plane arrived at the wrong terminal.  Passengers on the Delta Air Lines fight were let out into a section of the airport where they did not have to pass through immigration or customs.  They were only stopped when airport employees realised they were in the wrong part of the airport.

USAPA Security Update.  Bringing down an airliner continues to be the Gold Standard of terrorism.  If anyone thinks that our enemies have "been there, done that" and are not targeting US commercial aviation — think again.  There have been several cases recently throughout the industry of what appear to be probes, or dry-runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an inflight threat.

Allen West Warns of Islamic Terrorist Threat.  A recent unpublicized incident where several "Middle Eastern" men conducted, what some airline security experts believe was a "dry run" of a potential future terrorist attack aboard a U.S. airline, is raising questions about how real another 9/11-style attack really is.

Terrorists Doing 9/11-Style Dry Runs On Airplanes.  US Airline Pilots Association's Steve Sevier cited a Sept. 2 incident in which a group of "Middle Eastern males" started acting suspiciously after US Airways Flight 1880 took off from Washington to Orlando, Fla.  "Shortly after takeoff, one got up and ran from his seat in coach toward the flight deck door.  He made a hard left and entered the forward lav, where he stayed for a considerable length of time!" Sevier wrote.  "While he was in there, the others got up and proceeded to move about the cabin, changing seats, opening overhead bins and generally making a scene.  They appeared to be trying to occupy and distract the flight attendants."

10 News Investigators find memo warning about terrorist "dry-runs" on airplanes.  The 10 News Investigators have obtained an internal memo that details a frightening incident that brings back memories of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  Since then, federal efforts have gone in place to prevent a similar attack, leading many to believe another attack what happened on 9/11 could never happen again.  Wolf Koch, who flies Boeing 767s for Delta Airlines and is the Aviation Security Committee Chairman for the Air Line Pilots Association International, says that belief "is very foolish."

Memo details terrorist's 'dry run' aboard flight last month.  We've been hearing these reports for years, but this appears to be the real deal.  On a flight from Washington to Orlando last month, several Middle Eastern men caused what was termed a commotion and "appeared to be conducting a test run to gauge procedure and reaction to an in-flight threat during an incident aboard US Airways Flight 1880 from Reagan National Airport to Orlando International Airport on Sept. 2," according to Fox News.

Pilots union warns of 'dry run' by possible terrorists on US flight.  Security experts for a major airline's pilot's union have warned members that potential terrorists conducted apparent "dry runs" aboard domestic flights in recent weeks, and urged flight crews not to be pressured into taking to the skies if they are fearful.  A memo from the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, which represents more than 5,000 pilots who fly for US Airways, cites "several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an in-flight threat."

TSA Agent Arrested for Smuggling Illegal Aliens.  A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent was arrested Friday for conspiring to smuggle illegal aliens into the country.  Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers arrested David Alexander Díaz-Torres in Orlando, Fla., according to the Justice Department. Díaz-Torres and five others were charged in a 13-count indictment for bringing, transporting, harboring, and shielding illegal aliens within the United States.

Homeland Security Fail.  Frightening evidence of how lax our airport security has become is provided by an incident near Los Angeles, where a parked private jet airplane was tagged by a graffiti  artist  vandal.

Terrorists given new identities allowed to board commercial flights, IG report finds.  An investigation of the Justice Department's witness protection program uncovered glaring security problems that allowed terrorists who had been given new identities after cooperating with U.S. prosecutors to board commercial flights in the United States.  In some cases, suspects whose names were on federal watch lists that were meant to keep them off commercial aircraft were nevertheless able to board flights because the Justice Department had failed to add their new, government-issued identities to counterterrorism databases.

Spy Cameras Won't Make Us Safer.  On January 19, a team of at least 15 people assassinated Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.  The Dubai police released video footage of 11 of them.  While it was obviously a very professional operation, the 27 minutes of video is fascinating in its banality.  Team members walk through the airport, check in and out of hotels, get in and out of taxis.  They make no effort to hide themselves from the cameras, sometimes seeming to stare directly into them.  They obviously don't care that they're being recorded, and — in fact — the cameras didn't prevent the assassination, nor as far as we know have they helped as yet in identifying the killers.

Shocking stun-gun lapse at Kennedy.  A Greek national was able to slip a stun gun past inept TSA agents at Kennedy Airport yesterday [3/13/2013] after using it in the alleged rape and assault of his ex-girlfriend in Queens, authorities said.  Prodromos Vasilopoulous was about to board a Virgin Atlantic flight to London when he was picked up by authorities at the gate at around 8 a.m.  He had the stun gun in his Nike carry-on bag, and had no trouble getting it past the security checkpoint, sources said.

TSA screeners allow undercover agent with a fake bomb in his pants to pass through security.  The security breach took place on February 25 when the TSA's special operations team staged a mock intrusion at the airport.  The 'bomber' was even given a pat-down and still allowed through.  'This episode once again demonstrates how Newark Airport is the Ground Zero of TSA failures,' a source told the New York Post.

Flaw seen in TSA boarding-pass security.  Widely available smartphone applications can scan airline boarding passes to see if passengers are scheduled for additional screening by the Transportation Security Administration, which a security expert flags as a flaw in the system.  The flaw involves PreCheck passengers, who are typically allowed to keep their shoes and belts on, and their laptops and small containers of liquids in their bags at checkpoints.

Simple security flaw with TSA PreCheck boarding passes.  The bar code on airline boarding passes for passengers enrolled in the TSA PreCheck scheme could pose a serious security threat after flight enthusiasts revealed that the numbers contain important information about the type of security check passengers can expect to receive.  The flaw was uncovered by aviation blogger John Butler after he discovered that the information stored in his TSA PreCheck bar code wasn't encrypted.

Hacking TSA PreCheck.  What a dumb way to design the system.  It would be easier — and far more secure — if the boarding pass checker just randomly chose 10%, or whatever percentage they want, of PreCheck passengers to send through regular screening.  Why go through the trouble of encoding it in the barcode and then reading it?  And — of course — this means that you can still print your own boarding pass.  On the other hand, I think the PreCheck level of airport screening is what everyone should get, and that the no-fly list and the photo ID check add nothing to security.  So I don't feel any less safe because of this vulnerability.

Secret observers find 'shocking' lapses in Newark airport security, report says.  Screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport are properly executing standard pat-downs of passengers only 16.7 percent of the time and they identify and take appropriate action on prohibited items in only a quarter of all cases, according to a secret internal report.

Stranded jet-skier saunters through JFK safeguards.  A stranded jet-skier seeking help effortlessly overcame the Port Authority's $100 million, supposedly state-of-the-art security system at JFK Airport — walking undetected across two runways and into a terminal, The [New York] Post has learned.  Motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras of the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, or PIDS, were no match for Daniel Casillo, 31, of Howard Beach, who easily breached the system meant to safeguard against terrorists.

Midnight Was Movie Hour, Nap Time in New York Air Tower.  When midnight rolled around and flight traffic thinned out, air-traffic controllers guiding planes in the busiest U.S. corridor whipped out laptops to watch movies, play games or gamble online.  Controllers on break inflated air mattresses and napped on the floor.  Some left before their shifts were over.  They cursed at managers, refused to train new controllers, and flouted rules requiring them to pass on weather advisories to pilots.  "It was blatant and in your face," Evan Seeley, a former manager in the Ronkonkoma, New York, tower who came forward last year, said in a phone interview yesterday [5/9/2012].

JFK Airport terminal evacuated after Muslim TSA employee leaves metal detector unplugged.  This happened a couple of weeks ago and no flights went down, but it could have been a test of how to get people through security with material that would otherwise be detected, which they could then stash somewhere and retrieve later if they had to be re-screened.  Or it could just be an incompetent TSA employee (there are certainly more than enough of those to go around) who just happened to be a Muslim.  There is no way to be sure at this point, although it would be refreshing, albeit unlikely, if law enforcement did a bit of digging into the activities of Alija Abdul Majed.  In any case, this incident underscores how useless the TSA really is.

TSA screeners allegedly let drug couriers through LAX for cash.  Authorities filed trafficking and bribery charges against four current and former TSA screeners, alleging they received cash bribes in exchange for turning a blind eye on drugs packed in suitcases.

TSA screeners charged in LA drug trafficking probe.  Duane Eleby, a suspected drug courier, was all set to sneak 10 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport last February with the help of a former Transportation Security Administration employee and a screener.

Our turbulent skies.  In the last three decades there have been 188 airline bankruptcies.  Not coincidentally, fares, adjusted for inflation, are 18 percent lower than in 2000.  Forty years ago, a majority of Americans had never taken an airplane trip.  Now everyone is more free than ever to move about the country, air travel having been democratized by liberating it from government.

Air traffic controllers caught on camera apparently sleeping, texting.  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Westchester County executive Rob Astorino were reacting to a report on TV station WNYW.  The report included video purporting to show controllers sleeping, texting and reading while on duty at the county airport.  In a letter to the FAA, Sen. Gillibrand said:  "If these allegations are correct, they are highly disturbing and require attention at the highest levels of the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation."

Rep. Janice Hahn criticizes TSA after firearm incident at LAX.  Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) wrote to TSA chief John Pistole following an incident over the weekend in which a loaded, undeclared .38-caliber handgun fell out of a checked bag as it was being put on a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.  The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday [10/26/2011] that the TSA does not search for guns in checked luggage.

Airports give security badges to just about anyone, even dogs.  It doesn't take much to get an airport security badge these days, even if you are a dog.  In an examination of a database of more than 1.1 million security badges for roughly 900,000 airport workers at 359 US airports, the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General found omissions or inaccuracies in 96,000 records, such as missing security status, birthdates and birthplaces.  In one instance, a security badge was issued to a dog.

Airport security breached 25,000 times since 2001.  U.S. airports have suffered more than 25,000 security breaches under the watch of the Transportation Security Administration in the past ten years, a House subcommittee on national security reported today [7/13/2011].  At a hearing today of the House subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, lawmakers reported thousands of breaches and slammed the TSA for what members saw as a litany of security lapses at airports across the country.

Nigerian stowaway had at least 10 boarding passes, none in his name, officials say.  A Nigerian stowaway who flew from New York to Los Angeles with an expired boarding pass in someone else's name was carrying at least 10 different boarding passes, according to the FBI agent who took him into custody.  Not one of the boarding passes was in the name of Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, who acknowledged sneaking aboard a Virgin America flight on June 23, officials said.

The Editor says...
I don't get it.  Is this another Muslim dry-run to see where the security is weakest, or did this guy have legitimate reasons to fly somewhere but no money for a ticket?  As usual, we can't rely on the news media to tell the whole story.

TSA Erases Jihadist Graffiti on Plane.  You have to ask yourself if the TSA did this on purpose.  I think the agency "flubbed" this deliberately.  It's standard operating procedure for law enforcement to preserve a potential crime scene like this one, where it looked like it might be hinting at a terrorist attack that could kill plenty of passengers on a plane about to take off.

Two House members call for investigation of TSA.  Two Republican House members are calling for an investigation of the Transportation Security Administration after serious lapses in security led to the firing of dozens TSA employees at Honolulu International Airport.

Chef accidentally sneaks giant knives through TSA security.  Paul Kahan, a James Beard Award-winning chef based in Chicago, said he accidentally smuggled four large chef's knives onto a flight out of Chicago O'Hare International Airport in his carry-on bag on Thursday [6/16/2011].  "Flew outa O'Hare today," Kahan wrote on Twitter.  "Forgot I had four huge chef's knives in carry-on bag.  Got patted down for wallet.  Knives went through."

Muslim group: two imams pulled from plane bound for North Carolina.  An airline is investigating the removal of two imams from a flight headed to North Carolina, ostensibly because passengers felt uncomfortable with their presence of the pair — both clad in Islamic attire.  The incident occurred Friday on an Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight from Tennessee to North Carolina and it involved Masudur Rahman and Mohamed Zaghloul were wearing traditional Muslim dress, CNN affiliate WCNC reported.

The Editor says...
If you don't want to be treated like a potential hijacker, don't dress and act like one.

TSA Follies: See SPOT Fail.  Air traffic controllers have been catching a lot of grief for sleeping on the job lately.  But do you know what Transportation Security Administration officials have been doing — or rather, not doing — lately?  A federal watchdog revealed this week that TSA's counterterrorism specialists failed to detect 16 separate jihad operatives who moved through target airports "on at least 23 different occasions."

TSA Failed At Least 23 Times to Detect Terror Suspects.  Stephen M. Lord, director of homeland security and justice issues at the Government Accountability Office, told the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight today that the Transportation Security Administration failed on at least 23 occasions to stop subsequent terror suspects who boarded planes at U.S. airports.

Man reportedly slips past security, boards flight.  The Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday [3/9/2011] it is trying to determine how a man slipped past authorities and boarded a flight with a stolen boarding pass at New York's Kennedy airport.

DHS Caught and Released 369 Nigerians in 9 Months; 15 Became Fugitives.  Shortly after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national, attempted to detonate an underwear bomb aboard Northwest Flight 253 as it approached Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day 2009, the Homeland Security Department's Transportation Security Administration mandated heightened security checks (including full body patdowns) for all nationals of Nigeria and 13 other countries who boarded flights bound for the U.S.

Passenger boards plane with three boxcutters.  A passenger boarded an international flight from New York with three boxcutters in his hand luggage after TSA workers at JFK airport failed to spot the blades.  He walked straight through supposedly ramped-up security with the cutters, which were used as weapons by the 9/11 hijackers.

The Editor says...
Will the screeners be fired?  Not a chance!

Boxcutter Blunder.  Here's a confidence-builder:  All 141 passengers and crew members aboard a JetBlue flight about to depart JFK last weekend had to be evacuated because Transportation Security Administration screeners missed three box-cutters stashed in a passenger's carry-on bag.  As The Post's Philip Messing reported, Jersey City factory worker Eusebio Peraltalajara boarded the plane with the razors, which he'd stowed in a carry-on after work and then forgot about.  TSA agents never noticed them.

No, We're Not Safer Than Before 9/11.  Recently a passenger brought box cutters through a passenger screening point and on to an airliner.  In response to this, the Transportation Security Administration announced that the screeners responsible would get "remedial training."  There's been a lot of coverage of this event, including legitimate outrage that the sloppy TSA employees weren't fired.  What most people don't realize is that tolerating failure and outright sloppy work has been a hallmark of U.S. aviation security from the beginning.  The truth is nobody has ever been held accountable for aviation security failures — nobody.  From top to bottom, the TSA arrogantly claims it does nothing wrong.
This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2013 by Andrew K. Dart
TSA Failure Rate May Approach 70%.  It seems like terrorists don't even need to think of crazy new shoe, underwear, or pancake bombs to get around the TSA, since airport security seems to have forgotten what normal weapons look like.  Though they still won't let me bring four ounces of conditioner onto the plane.

Heathrow security told to ignore flying 'mules'.  Just prior to Christmas, British customs officers were instructed to pay no attention to flying 'mules' passing through Heathrow airport in London.  Due to reduced holiday staffing, Britain's busiest airport was wide open to drug smugglers for a three day period.  The UK Daily Mail learned that a UK Border Agency official sent a highly controversial email to the staff at Heathrow.

Sacramento-area pilot punished for YouTube video.  An airline pilot is being disciplined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for posting video on YouTube pointing out what he believes are serious flaws in airport security.  The 50-year-old pilot, who lives outside Sacramento, asked that neither he nor his airline be identified.  He has worked for the airline for more than a decade and was deputized by the TSA to carry a gun in the cockpit.

Exactly the way Russia would handle it...
Pilot punished for showing TSA the truth.  His original video posted on YouTube was fuzzy and jumpy, which you might expect from a cell phone, but it was enough for TSA to show up at the home of the person capturing those images with four Sky Marshals and two sheriff's deputies, and confiscate the man's handgun which they had issued to him because he was authorized to carry weapons as part of the government's armed pilots program.  They also ordered him to remove the video from YouTube.

TSA punishes pilot for criticizing its security flaws.  Behaving more like a thuggish third world dictatorship than the guardians of a democratic society, TSA agents have swooped down on a pilot who had the temerity to publicly point out flaws in the security system at San Francisco International Airport.  Quite clearly, the agency is far more concerned to appear to be doing a good job than in actually carrying out its mission.

Whistleblower Pilot Wants to 'Come Out of Shadows'.  The airline pilot who spoke out anonymously after he was reprimanded by the TSA for posting videos showing security flaws at a major airport said today he may reveal his identity this week.  The 50-year-old California man told ABC affiliate KXTV in Sacramento that he hopes he will be able to "safely come out of the shadows."

Congressman to TSA: Stop harassing pilot, fix the problem.  A Sacramento-area airline pilot has made national headlines after posting YouTube videos showing security flaws at San Francisco International Airport.  The 50-year-old man shared those videos with News10 to highlight what he and his attorney call serious security flaws.

The pilot now has his own web site:
TSA Whistleblowing Patriot Pilot.  The Patriot Pilot is an average man, like many of us, who simply wanted to make sure that the American public was truly safe when flying the 'friendly skies'.

Man boards plane at IAH with loaded gun in carry-on.  TSA checkpoints at airports are at the front lines of preventing terrorism.  When you go through security, you expect to be scanned and searched.  And you expect TSA to prevent contraband from getting on planes, but as we've learned, that doesn't always happen.

3 LAX terminals shut down after guard leaves post.  Officials say three terminals at the Los Angeles International Airport were briefly shut down after an airport contract worker left an exit from a secure area unattended.

Guard who allowed security breach at Newark Airport put on administrative leave.  The air-headed guard who allowed a major security breach at Newark Airport on Sunday has been placed on administrative leave and booted from the airport, the Transportation Security Administration announced Wednesday [1/6/2010].  The disciplinary smackdown is the first sign that heads could roll at the TSA as a result of the security lapse, during which an unidentified man walked into a supposedly secure area of Terminal C.

Update:  No heads will roll.
TSA says Newark Airport security guard will be back on the job.  The guard who was away from his post at Newark Airport when a graduate student ducked into a secured area was notified today of his discipline, a Transportation Security Administration official said today.  The federal agency, which has not named the guard, would not release details of the disciplinary action, saying it is a protected personnel matter, but confirmed the guard will be back on the job.

The System?  It's You!  Janet Napolitano's appearance on CNN this morning [12/27/2009], in which she tried to put a happy face on the fact that a known terrorist sympathizer got onto a flight bound for America and nearly brought it down, has been widely and justly derided.

Human IEDs.  I think we will see some radical changes from the Obama administration very rapidly.  When a Nigerian national, with a history of radical Islamic sympathies, previously reported to U.S. authorities by his father as a threat to America, buys a one-way ticket with cash, has no check-in luggage, previously was denied a British visa, boards a plane easily, and is prevented only by a courageous tourist from murdering over 300 innocents — and when all that is characterized as the system working like "clockwork" — well, something is terribly wrong.

Flying Lessons.  Several hundred men, women, and children will live to see the New Year thanks to good luck:  The terrorist on Delta/Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit was inadequately trained, and one passenger turned out to be remarkably quick-thinking and courageous.  But a multi-billion dollar government security system failed.  The question now:  Is the Obama administration smart enough to go to school on this attack?

Red flags waved, ignored.  The more I think about the Christmas all-but-bombing, the angrier I get.  At the multiple failures that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to get on the plane with explosives sewn inside his underwear.  And at the Obama administration's initial, everything's-fine-everybody-move-right-along reaction.

Top 10 Disasters of Flight 253.  [#1] Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is on a terrorist watch list and banned from the U.K.  His father has warned U.S. authorities about him.  He has no passport, checks no luggage and pays for a one-way ticket in cash.  He is allowed to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

Man involved in inflight fight gets 30 days in jail.  A 31-year-old man has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for fighting with a fellow passenger on an Air Canada jet that was forced to cut short a flight to Germany and land in Montreal.  Montreal police spokesman Daniel Lacoursiere said that Khodr Ahmad was sentenced in Montreal court Thursday [12/31/2009] after pleading guilty to a charge of disturbing the peace.

Smuggled Gun Found On Phoenix-Bound Plane.  A US Airways employee and passenger are being questioned after an unloaded handgun was discovered aboard a Phoenix-bound flight originating in Philadelphia, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr.  Souces say a passenger allegedly handed a bag containing the weapon to an airline employee, who bypassed the security screening before giving it back to the passenger, reports Orr.  Ammunition was also found on the plane.

Undercover Agent Obtained Passport with Fraudulent IDs; Passed Airport Security.  Carrying a fake New York birth certificate and a phony Florida driver's license, an investigator walked into a Maryland post office in December to apply for a U.S. passport, filling out documents with the Social Security number of a man who died in 1965.  In four days, the investigator received his passport.

Marshals kept off plane at Reagan.  A team of federal air marshals was prevented from protecting a recent flight from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport because a gate agent erroneously said they did not have the correct paperwork, say marshals familiar with the incident. … Even the intervention of higher-ups in the Homeland Security Department could not persuade the airline to allow the armed law-enforcement agents aboard, and the plane departed unprotected an hour and a half late, the sources said.

Loaded gun slips through airport security.  A passenger who went through an airport security checkpoint — before remembering that he had a loaded gun — is facing charges after going back to report his error, authorities said. … The TSA contacted airport police, who charged the man with possessing or transporting a firearm into an air carrier terminal where prohibited, a misdemeanor, and released him.

The Editor says...
There is a lesson to be learned here:  If you do the right thing and admit your gun made it through security, you will be punished.

Overhaul cuts sky marshals by a third.  The number of armed sky marshals is to be slashed on some international flights as part of an overhaul of the highly secretive anti-terror program.  Changes to the Air Security Officer program — created as a last-ditch defence against hijackers following the attacks of September 11, 2001 — will result in the number of marshals on some 747 flights being reduced by a third.

Afghan plane hijacker is now working as a cleaner at Heathrow.  Airport security was condemned as a joke after an Afghan involved in the Stansted hijacking was found to be working at Heathrow as a cleaner.  Police arrested Nazamuddin Mohammidy at Terminal 5 where he showed his British Airways pass allowing him access to secure areas.

U.S. Airport Screeners Fail 'Would-Be' Bomber Tests.  Federal agents tested security screeners at 21 U.S. airports by carrying bomb-making materials — and not a single would-be "suicide bomber" was detected.  "In all 21 airports tested, no machine, no swab, no screener anywhere stopped the bomb materials from getting through," according to a report from NBC Nightly News that cited government sources.

Al Gore Inadvertently Breaches Airport Security.  Former vice president Al Gore was involved in a security breach at the Nashville Airport when an American Airlines employee led him and his entourage around security, a clear violation of policy.

Bloggers attack feds after agent forgets gun in airport.  Bloggers are raising their voices in unison calling for punishment for a federal agent who left her gun in a restroom inside the secured area at Milwaukee's airport.  "Using the agency's own standards, this agent should be headed to the slam," wrote [one blogger7].

Airline baggage handlers brought guns, drugs on flight.  Two baggage handlers carried a bag containing guns and drugs on a commercial flight from Florida to Puerto Rico, but passengers were in no danger, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman said.  The baggage handlers used their employee uniforms and airport identification cards to enter restricted areas, bypass screeners with the bag and board the commercial Delta flight, according to court documents released Wednesday [3/7/2007].

[Notice that the TSA said the "passengers were in no danger" with guns aboard the plane.  If that is true, why will they not allow the pilots to carry guns?]

Most fake bombs missed by screeners.  Security screeners at two of the nation's busiest airports failed to find fake bombs hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers in more than 60% of tests last year, according to a classified report obtained by USA TODAY.  Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75% of simulated explosives and bomb parts that Transportation Security Administration testers hid under their clothes or in carry-on bags at checkpoints, the TSA report shows.

Airport boss won't take the blame.  Chicago's aviation commissioner on Thursday [11/08/2007] contradicted charges that illegal immigrants gained access to secure areas of O'Hare using deactivated city security cards — and she put blame for the problem on the federal government and private employers.  On Wednesday [11/7/2007], federal and local authorities cracked down on a company that allegedly got illegals identity badges so they could load cargo and meals onto commercial jetliners.

Cannabis blunder at Tokyo airport.  An unwitting passenger arriving at Japan's Narita airport has received 142g of cannabis after a customs test went awry, officials say.  A customs officer hid a package of the banned substance in a side pocket of a randomly chosen suitcase in order to test airport security.  Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which bag he had put it in.  Anyone finding the package has been asked to contact customs officials.

The Editor says...
One thing is certain:  the cops won't believe you when you say, "I don't know how this got in my suitcase."

Twelve year old boy evades security clampdown.  Despite a high level of alert at British airports, a 12-year-old boy managed to board a plane at Gatwick without a passport, ticket or boarding pass.

Boy Sneaks Past Security, Boards Flight.  A 9-year-old boy from Lakewood sneaked past security and talked his way onto a Southwest Airlines flight at Sea-Tac Airport Monday night after running away from home. … Before the boy was able to get on the plane he had to get a boarding pass at the airline's ticket counter.

Boy who hopped flights caught again at Sea-Tac.  The boy who talked his way onto airline flights to Texas last year has attempted another getaway.  A Seattle TV station, KING, reports Semaj Booker was stopped today by the Transportation Security Administration at a Seattle-Tacoma International Airport gate after he failed to show a boarding pass.  His mother had reported him missing to Tacoma police at 3 a.m.

Mother of 9-year-old runaway expresses pride in son's escapades.  The mother of the 9-year-old boy who took two flights in an attempt to run away to Dallas said she was stunned but proud to hear about her son's actions, according to a TV interview scheduled to air Wednesday night. … [In case you have forgotten]  The boy tried to run away to Dallas on Jan. 15 because he disliked Washington and wanted to be with his grandfather. … He faces charges in connection with a high speed chase in a stolen car on Highway 512 the day before his airline escapade.

These questions came to the Editor's mind, in this order:
 1.  Where's his father?
 2.  Why hasn't this kid been locked up?
 3.  If he likes Dallas so much, why send him back to Washington?
 4.  Why is his mother, the enabler, so proud of him?

Congressman charged after altercation.  Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) was involved in an altercation last night [8-19-2007] at Dulles Airport.  He was allegedly angered by the amount of time it was taking to get his luggage and tried to push his way through the United Airlines baggage claim office.

Filner: 'Regret' for Airport Incident.  Rep. Bob Filner said Wednesday [8/29/2007] he regrets a recent incident at Dulles Airport in which he allegedly pushed a United Airlines baggage employee, resulting in assault and battery charges.  Filner, D-Calif., offered few details of the Aug. 19 incident in a three-sentence statement issued after he returned from a week in Iraq.

Discovery of dazed stowaway grounds flight.  A man scaled a security fence at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and boarded a Delta jet in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, landing himself in jail while preventing a flight to Cincinnati from taking off.  Gregory S. Wester of Fuquay-Varina walked onto the Boeing 737-800 and quietly took a seat while a cleaning crew was working on the plane about 3:30 a.m., airport spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said.  Wester had climbed a 7-foot fence topped with barbed wire to gain access to the tarmac at the airport's Terminal A.

Commentary on the article above  is pretty hilarious.

Warning on air traffic hacking.  Hackers armed with little more than a laptop computer could conjure up phantom planes on air traffic controllers' screens using new radar technology called ADS-B — Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcasting.  The technology has been enthusiastically endorsed by the airline industry because it is less costly than radar.  But critics say the system has no way of verifying whether a plane is where it claims to be or if it exists at all.

An Inside Examination of Airport Security:  In the first week of December, 2004, the media focused on the problem of missing security personnel uniforms and badges reported in Canada.  Just how our friends to the north learned of the loss of over 1100 uniforms and badges is not clear, but it was reported that at least one uniform was offered for sale on E-bay — hopefully, that was not how the problem came to the attention of Canadian authorities.

Airport screening tests were sabotaged.  Federal transportation officials and a private security firm at San Francisco International Airport worked together to undermine a federal investigation of passenger screening at security checkpoints, according to a report released Thursday [11/16/2006] by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

As TSA Claims Progress in Securing Commercial Aviation From Explosives, Little Has Changed.  Despite the repeated efforts of federal law enforcement in breaking up criminal enterprise activities on airport ramps in all regions of the country where they have arrested workers involved in the movement of narcotics, ramp workers still continue to enter and leave daily without being subjected to physical screening.  Even after other ramp employees were found to be illegal aliens working in sterile security zones with the highest level of security clearance and the identification and arrests of workers with significant criminal histories and outstanding arrest warrants, airport workers with access to restricted areas, cargo, baggage and aircraft are still not physically screened before accessing sterile areas.

Air marshal leaves plane after dropping bullets.  A U.S. air marshal removed himself from a Southwest Airlines flight Thursday [6/1/2006] after dropping a clip of bullets on the floor just before the plane was to take off, an airline spokeswoman said.

US arrests 55 illegal workers at Dulles airport.  U.S. immigration officials said on Wednesday [6/14/2006] they had arrested 55 illegal immigrants who were working at a construction site in the secure area at Dulles International Airport.

TSA:  Computer glitch led to Atlanta airport scare.  A bomb scare that lead authorities to evacuate security checkpoints for two hours at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on 19 Apr 2006 was reported by the Transportation Security Administration director as the result of a "software malfunction".  The detected device was part of a routine test, but apparently could not be located.

Cockpit device narrowly averts collision.  A Chicago-bound jet came within seconds of a midair collision at 25,000 feet over Indiana, but a cockpit safety device alerted the pilots flying the other plane of the danger ahead, officials said Wednesday [11/14/2007]. … The controller, a 26-year veteran, appeared to have forgotten about the United Express plane after he mistakenly removed its electronic identification tag from his radar screen in preparation to hand off the plane to controllers in a different air sector, officials said.

TSA Says Shoe X-Rays at Airports Can Detect Explosives, Despite Security Report.  On Sunday [8/13/2006], the TSA made it mandatory for shoes to be run through X-ray machines as passengers go through metal detectors.  They were begun in late 2001, after ["Shoe Bomber" Richard] Reid's arrest.  The shoe scans have been optional for several years.

Police Seek Clues After Man Vanishes at Mineta San Jose Int'l Airport.  David Eugene Brewer was on his way to Hawaii to rebuild his life when he disappeared on Halloween in plain sight at Mineta San Jose International Airport.  At the airport, Brewer encountered two polite strangers who let him use their cell phones to call his mother in Kauai, according to San Jose police.  He also talked to her on an airport courtesy phone.  And then he vanished.

Air marshals face smuggling charges.  Two federal air marshals are facing drug charges after allegedly agreeing to smuggle cocaine from a man who turned out to be a government witness, the U.S. attorney's office in Houston, Texas, announced Monday [2/13/2006].

Midway scare is blamed on glitch.  Errors by screeners — not random computer glitches that the federal government previously blamed — were responsible for false alarms over weapons that sparked the recent evacuation of Midway Airport and two other U.S. airports, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Houston Airport Rangers.  Just fill out a form and undergo a background check, and you too can become a front-line fighter as Houston's airport tries to keep our nation safe and secure.  No experience necessary.  You don't even have to be a U.S. citizen.  No, it's not [intended to be] a joke.  The Airport Rangers program is intended to promote both security and community participation, according to the official description.  It's a volunteer mounted patrol that rides horses along the pristine wooded trails that form the perimeter of the 11,000-acre airport.

Most "spiked" stories of 2003:  Although it's attracted little media attention, the "ramp" or "back side" of an airport, where unscreened workers and vendors have access to baggage, air cargo, food supplies, mechanics' equipment and the aircraft itself, represents the gateway to the next terrorist attack on U.S. airliners, predicts a former airline security consultant.

Biometric IDs for Airport Employees.  Transportation employees are a weak link in airplane security.  We're spending billions on passenger screening programs like CAPPS-II, but none of these measures will do any good if terrorists can just go around the systems.  Current TSA policy is that airport workers can access secure areas of airports with no screening whatsoever except for a rudimentary background check.

Illegals, Sabotage, and Security:  Bob Tamburini, an Airbus A300 Captain said "Indications that saboteurs are 'at work' on the payrolls of airlines adds another dimension to air safety.  Crash investigators can no longer rule out sabotage/terrorism in a 'rush to judgment' designed to appease the flying public — not when FAA certified mechanics, (possibly) linked to terrorist cells, can loosen attachment bolts on aircraft tails and engines.  The time has come to ensure that all airport/airline employees meet the strictest background checks, regardless of the associated costs."

Airport Security Issues:  Although there has been an increase in the level of security at many airports, the advice on this page should provide an overview of what to expect when you are traveling through many of the world's airports.

Holes in the Security Net:  Numerous airport security risks listed and illustrated.

Preventing the preventable:  Congress has now required that, by year's end, all checked baggage at all U.S. airports is to be screened by explosive detection systems.  These fast hi-tech machines are equipped with artificial intelligence packages to decide what all the data their sensors are taking means.  Automated data evaluation and decision making is critically important, since these machines will be operated by brethren of those mental giants who now scan your carry-on luggage — sometimes with their x-ray machine unplugged.

Airport evacuations due to errant bomb-scanners:  CTX units blamed for L.A. and Sacramento scares, yet the government orders 100 more.

Airport Baggage Scanners Flawed:  Unannounced tests in the months before September 11 repeatedly found lapses by the $1 million baggage scanners that the federal government plans to deploy at airports around the country to detect explosives, according to the Los Angeles Times.

U.S. Arrests Foreign Airport Workers:  Twenty foreign nationals who work at Logan International Airport [Boston] have been charged with lying to obtain badges that gave them access to secure areas of the facility, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday [2/27/2002].

Agent:  FAA buried lapses.  The Federal Aviation Administration covered up security shortcomings at airports for years by manipulating tests and ignoring loopholes that its agents reported, a leader of an FAA team that tested security says.

80% of airport's screeners are non-citizens.  Congressman asks of statistic, "What is wrong with this picture?"

The airport security charade:  The real security for today's flights is on the plane itself, made up of cabin crews and passengers.  The security people at the airport can't stop a terrorist from boarding a plane if they don't have solid proof of what he intends to do.  In other words, today's improved airport security is a big joke.

Airport Security "No Better Than It Was On September 10th," Experts Say.  Two leading counter-terrorism experts say the attempted bombing of a trans-Atlantic flight by an alleged terrorist with explosives in his shoes proves airport security measures are failing.

Covert airport-security inspectors "grounded":  Elite Red Team answering congressional mail instead of testing checkpoints for weaknesses.

Congress Federalizes Airport Workers:  The plan replaces the private, widely criticized companies responsible for screening passengers and baggage with widely criticized government workers.

Unions and Democrats Stand to Gain from Airport Security Bill :  Estimates show that unions could collect $27 million if airport security workers joined them.

Don't Federalize Airport Security :  In response to tremendous fear of flying in the wake of the Sept. 11 disaster, both the White House and Congress have been desperately searching for ways to beef up airport security.  But one "solution" is no solution at all and may lead to weaker security.  That bad idea, having the federal government take over airport security, should be rejected.

S.F. airport flunked secret security test:  Undercover federal agents acting as terrorists managed to break through security points at San Francisco International Airport 99 percent of the time during a 1998 sting, a secret Federal Aviation Administration memo reveals.  Yet top FAA officials here took "no corrective action," an FAA whistleblower agent complained, even though agents were able to sneak even machine guns past screeners.

Screeners ignore "alarmed" luggage:  The government says only about 10 percent of checked suitcases are now scanned for explosives.  But the share may actually be far less, warn airport security specialists.

Face recognition technology is a proven farce:  Crowd surveillance kit using face recognition technology by Visionics has been a comic failure in tests by the Tampa, Florida police, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has discovered.  By leveraging the Florida open-records law, the watchdog organization obtained system logs proving that the Visionics contraption has thus far failed to identify one single crook or pervert listed in the department's photographic database, while falsely identifying 'a large number' of innocent citizens.

FAA-certified machine tied to 3rd bomb scare in 9 days:  CTX bag scanner triggers another false alarm, clearing part of LAX terminal over kitchenware.  A report on the federalized skies.  The Senate fulfilled the Democrats' dream of putting 28,000 more people on the federal payroll.  But the aftermath hasn't exactly been dreamlike.

Public Sector Security:  In addition to the broad resources provided by local and federal law enforcement agencies that daily exercise general police powers, more and more agencies of government have specialized law enforcement personnel to police compliance with their executive authority under agency regulations, codes and statutes.  The responsibility for protecting government facilities and operations may be vested in yet a third category of public sector security with police powers to enforce laws necessary to protect public property.  As a nation we are becoming more security conscious than in the past and more territorial about who will provide it.

Airport Profiling Should Be Conducted by Trained and Trusted Profilers.  Profiling, the art of identifying individuals for heightened scrutiny in this case, has been used successfully by Israel to identify passengers deemed to be a threat to their commercial aviation system.  But profiling in the United States for the same purpose has raised the ire of the ACLU and other organizations concerned that it would unfairly single out minorities, particularly those most closely identified by race, ethnicity, religion and gender with the terrorists involved in 9/11 and other terrorist events around the world.

Recommendations For Airport Security.  The FAA has proved itself unable to handle the security requirements of today's airports.  There are ways to vastly improve the situation.

Hiring the Right People:  At the end of the day good airport security is driven by good security personnel. … While the government is purchasing explosive detection equipment that costs in excess of $1 million per unit, and we need over 2,000 units, some members of Congress, and some officials of the Department of Transportation, expect screeners without a high school education to operate that equipment effectively.  Not likely when you cannot read or comprehend the instruction manual!

The Case of the Ubiquitous Box Cutters:  Whether an airliner can be hijacked anymore with a box cutter or any other hand-held weapon is debatable, given reinforced cockpit doors and the like.  What is more important is the fact that a box cutter can still make it through security after an $11 billion effort to keep it out.

Airport Security:  A Work in Progress.  In aviation security, the cause of a security breach must be determined and corrected quickly because, unlike with other risks, they are much likelier to cause catastrophic harm.

Are Some Passengers Safer Than Others?  After its dogged insistence since 9/11 that objects with points or sharp edges (regardless of size) were a threat to aviation security, the TSA is now considering reversing itself, and recognizing that the mountain of pen knives and scissors it has confiscated were never really a hijacking threat.  Even more astonishing is a plan to allow thousands of air travelers with the right employment pedigrees to pass onto to airliners with no screening at all as way to reduce screening costs and speed up the boarding process.

Want to bring a bomb onto an airplane?  CNN happily tells you how to do it.
TSA tester slips mock bomb past airport security.  Jason — that's the name CNN was asked to call him — slides a simulated explosive into an elastic back support.  The mock bomb is as slim as a wallet; its fuse, the size of a cigarette.  He wraps the support around his torso, and the bomb fits comfortably into the small of his back.  It's hard to tell he's concealing anything; harder still when he dons a black T-shirt and a maroon golf shirt.

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Updated April 16, 2018.

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