REPORT: US Airports Still Have Security Vulnerabilities - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

REPORT: US Airports Still Have Security Vulnerabilities

MSNBC.COM - It has been almost 10 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, and U.S. airports still are not as secure as they need to be. More than 14,000 people have found their way into sensitive areas, and about 6,000 travelers have made it past government screeners without proper scrutiny, according to a congressman who is leading an inquiry into the deficiencies.

Since November 2001, more than 25,000 security breaches have occurred at U.S. airports, despite the extra security measures put in place over the past 9 ½ years, said Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, citing government statistics. That is an average of slightly more than five security breaches a year at each of the 457 commercial airports, and "these are just the ones we know about," said Chaffetz, who is overseeing a congressional hearing Wednesday on security shortcomings. "I think it's a stunningly high number."

The Transportation Security Administration said these numbers represent "a tiny fraction of 1 percent" of the more than 5.5 billion people that have been screened across the country since 9/11. "These events were reported, investigated and remedied," agency spokesman Greg Soule said.

The 25,000 figure is misleading because a security breach is broadly defined to include instances when a checked bag was misplaced after it had gone through security screening to a person who was caught in the act of breaching security and immediately apprehended, Soule said.

Criticism of screening policies
The congressional interest comes amid the busy midyear travel season and growing criticism of some of the TSA's screening policies, like security pat-downs for children and travelers in their 90s. The TSA has defended its policies, citing terrorists' persistent interest in attacking commercial aviation. For instance, early this month, counterterror officials saw intelligence about some terrorists' renewed interest in surgically implanting bombs in humans to evade airport security like full-body imaging machines. The TSA and FBI are even testing this theory on pigs' carcasses to see how viable the threat is, said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.

Since the 2001 attacks, the airport screening work force has been entirely revamped and billions of dollars have been spent on technology that has been deployed across the country. But despite all the enhancements, travelers have made it past security when they should not have. Most recently, a cellphone-sized stun gun was found aboard a plane operated by JetBlue Airways Corp. Officials do not believe the stun gun was intended for use in some type of attack, but the FBI is investigating how and why it was on the airplane. Earlier this month, a Nigerian American was accused of breaching three layers of airport security while getting on a cross-country flight with an expired boarding pass.

Chaffetz also worries that airports have issued more than 900,000 special credentials to workers for access to secure and restricted areas in airports, including 16,000 secure badges to Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia alone, he said. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MSNBC

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • WATCH: Car kick sparks chain-reaction crash on California highway

    WATCH: Car kick sparks chain-reaction crash on California highway

    Saturday, June 24 2017 4:40 PM EDT2017-06-24 20:40:35 GMT

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - A case of road rage caused a chain-reaction crash on a California freeway on Wednesday and a driver caught the whole thing on video. It happened around 6 a.m. on the southbound 14 Freeway near Newhall in Santa Clarita. Witness Chris Traber started recording when he saw a gray sedan cut off the motorcyclist.

    >>

    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - A case of road rage caused a chain-reaction crash on a California freeway on Wednesday and a driver caught the whole thing on video. It happened around 6 a.m. on the southbound 14 Freeway near Newhall in Santa Clarita. Witness Chris Traber started recording when he saw a gray sedan cut off the motorcyclist.

    >>
  • Seattle police: No choice but lethal force in fatal shooting

    Seattle police: No choice but lethal force in fatal shooting

    Saturday, June 24 2017 5:21 PM EDT2017-06-24 21:21:01 GMT

    SEATTLE (AP) - Two Seattle police officers who shot and killed a 30-year-old pregnant woman each say they fired their weapons after the woman suddenly pulled a knife and came after them.  The Seattle Times reports that the Seattle Police Department late Friday released transcripts of interviews with the officers involved the June 18 fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles.

    >>

    SEATTLE (AP) - Two Seattle police officers who shot and killed a 30-year-old pregnant woman each say they fired their weapons after the woman suddenly pulled a knife and came after them.  The Seattle Times reports that the Seattle Police Department late Friday released transcripts of interviews with the officers involved the June 18 fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles.

    >>
  • Police search for missing man in Spokane

    Police search for missing man in Spokane

    Sunday, June 25 2017 2:05 AM EDT2017-06-25 06:05:17 GMT

    Spokane, WA - Spokane Police say they need your help finding this missing man.  

    >>

    Spokane, WA - Spokane Police say they need your help finding this missing man.  

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/