Airport Screeners Miss Guns, Knives, Box Cutters

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http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-26-tsa-security-usat_x.htm

Guns, knives, and box cutters like those used by the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, got past screeners in airport security tests by undercover agents, USA Today reports. Despite the hiring of 50,000 government-paid screeners, congressional investigators found that the Transportation Security Administration has not stopped the flow of lethal weapons.

Details are classified. “You wouldn’t want to know. … It’s gruesome,” said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of a House aviation panel. “We have a huge army (of screeners) that’s not working well.” Congress’s General Accounting Office issued a report yesterday saying that the transportation security agency inadequately trains screeners.

The screeners are part of a bureaucracy created after the terrorist attacks, when Congress ordered private airport screeners replaced with a government force. The goal was to increase federal oversight. A TSA spokesman said screeners have found 1,000 prohibited guns, 2 million knives and 50,000 box cutters. He noted that checkpoint screening is only part of a multilayered security system that includes reinforced cockpit doors, thousands of armed federal air marshals, hundreds of armed pilots and screening of checked bags for explosives.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said much more needs to be done. “What I worry about is that these people (terrorists) seem to repeat patterns,” he said. “I’m worried they’ll try to take planes down again.”

Link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-26-tsa-security-usat_x.htm

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