Summer Security Funtime

By | July 6, 2007

Our ‘friends’ at the Coalition for Luggage Security are trying to scare us into giving their sponsors money to transport our luggage separately from ourselves. In a recent press release, ‘Travel Fears Proving to be True’, they comment that “in the wake of these events our nation’s airports have stepped up security, but the threat level has remained the same.”

Now, in defense of the Department of Homeland Security and the threat level for air travel and the national threat level…it has remained at High…for a high risk of terrorist attacks. The levels…Low, Guarded, Elevated, High, and Severe, are somewhat inaccurately used. The United Kingdom threat level, has been reduced from critical to severe, which means they no longer think an attack is imminent, but is still likely at any time…Our threat level has been at Orange, which is the High level, since last August.

While we doubt luggage is responsible, we have given their ideas a forum…”Something needs to be done before a suicide suitcase bomber takes thousands of lives and brings our national air travel to a standstill,” Josh Holm, the group’s director commented.

Anyone can walk into any public place, airport or not, with a bomb…should we require everyone to walk around without carrying anything?

To be fair, there are security scares…Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, was ordered to be evacuated after nine bomb threats were received by phone on Wednesday. The airport was closed from 5PM to 9PM, and an Airtran flight inbound from Atlanta was kept on the plane from its arrival at 5:43 until around 8 before being allowed to deplane, after which the plane and their baggage was searched. Four or five flights were actually diverted away from the airport.

Rome’s Ciampino Airport, used primarily by low-cost carriers, was shut down Monday evening until Tuesday morning causing delays when a man carrying two bags was discovered walking on the runway. Officials said it was not yet clear how and why the man entered the fenced airport, a hub for low-cost airlines. The airport also has a military wing used by the air force as well as Italian and foreign dignitaries on state visits. The man was released after being reported to prosecutors for violating security measures, police said.

The TSA did boost security for July 4th travelers, dispatching “VIPER” teams to guard facilities in the nation’s capital and in Baltimore, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The teams are special TSA teams used to provide a visible deterrent and are regularly sent out for special events wherever there are crowds. The term stands for Visible Intermodal Protection and Response and include canine teams, officers trained in behavior observation(something all should be), air marshal supervisors, air marshals not scheduled for flights, surface transportation security inspectors, and local police.