After LAX Shooting, Experts Say It’s Tough to Improve Airport Security


Last week’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport that left a Transportation Security Administration officer dead and two others wounded has security experts re-examining strategy for making airports safe, but there are no obvious solutions and extending any security perimeter raises other problems, the New York Times reports. “Wherever you establish a security perimeter, by definition, there's stuff outside it,” said Arnold Barnett, an aviation security expert at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. More police officers outside the security perimeter, like at the ticketing area or at the curb, could prompt a gunman to go where the officers are not.

The chief of the Los Angeles Airport Police Department, Patrick Gannon, defended a recent decision to reassign armed officers from the security screening area, saying it would allow them to patrol the airport more freely and avoid becoming too predictable. He said the biggest threats to terminals are from the curb areas to where passengers are screened and he wanted more officers available for those areas. “We changed our strategy to a certain degree,” Gannon said. “I can't run the same thing every day.” He said the redeployment had allowed officers to respond to the shooting within seconds and stop the gunman from harming more people. While interrupting communications among terrorists might provide a way to disrupt their plots, lone gunmen are tougher to stop, especially if they seem intent on suicide, as many believe was the case with the man suspected in Los Angeles, Paul Ciancia, who wrote a long note indicating he was targeting TSA officers.

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