Airport Security PATHETIC results


Well-known member
Jan 11, 2002
Total Time
By Blake Morrison

Screeners at 32 U.S. airports failed to detect hundreds of knives, guns or simulated explosives in tests by government investigators in the months after Sept. 11, USA TODAY has learned.

The undercover tests show widespread failures in most areas of airport security, despite increased vigilance and higher staffing levels after the terrorist attacks. The tests, ordered by President Bush, were conducted by the Transportation Department's inspector general from November through early February, when airports were on their highest alert.

According to a confidential memo dated Feb. 19 and obtained by USA TODAY, investigators conducted 783 tests at airport screening checkpoints and hundreds of tests in other areas of airport security. The memo, sent by the inspector general to top Transportation Department officials including Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, says investigators tried to carry guns past screeners in some of the tests.

In others, they wore knives or tried to slip simulated explosives through checkpoints.

The results:

* Investigators carried knives past screeners in more than 70% of tests.

* Screeners failed to spot guns in 30% of tests.

* Screeners failed to detect simulated explosive devices in 60% of tests.

* Overall, screeners failed to stop prohibited items in 48% of tests.

* Investigators either secretly boarded an aircraft or gained access to the airport tarmac in 48% of tests.

Because results of the inspector general's undercover audits are considered ''security sensitive'' information by the Federal Aviation Administration and are not made public, comparing these failure rates with those of previous tests is difficult. However, congressional testimony in September by the General Accounting Office indicates screeners fared better in FAA detection tests during the 1970s and '80s than they did after the terrorist attacks.

''I would say it's astounding and pretty incredible, given the high state of security awareness we were under during that period,'' said Reynold Hoover, a counterterrorism expert who conducts seminars on checkpoint screening. ''There really wasn't the change we thought there was after Sept. 11.''

The FAA and airlines were in charge of security during the period in which the tests were conducted. On Feb. 17, days after testing ended, the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began to oversee security checkpoints.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the agency ''took aggressive enforcement action any time there was a question about proper security'' after Sept. 11. Those actions included airport evacuations, she said.

A senior TSA spokesman cited ''dramatic changes'' in security since the new agency took over. He said the inspector general's test results ''re-emphasize and illustrate why the vigilance has to be doubled, and that's what we're doing.'' The agency recently hired 1,200 new supervisory screeners, many who are ''highly educated'' with law enforcement or military experience, he said.

David Barnes, an inspector general spokesman, wouldn't say which airports were tested. The memo says airports ''included major hubs as well as smaller airports such as (Virginia's) Norfolk International.''


Skirts Will Rise
Jan 17, 2002
Total Time
Most government programs that aren't well thought out usually fail.


Who's on First??
Nov 28, 2001
Total Time
Actually, I'm suprised that they even caught anything at all...

Seeing as how we now have beavis and butt-head looking through our bags and telling us to take off our shoes