Airport Security, Past and Post 9/11

Topics: Airport security, Security, Access control Pages: 6 (2288 words) Published: April 17, 2012
Only from incidences of air piracy, terrorism, and changes in the social and political climate worldwide has airport security slowly morphed through the rulings of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However the attacks of September 11th 2001 had changed airport security vastly in the matter of days. Michael Chertoff, the assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division at the Justice Department during the attack of 9/11 stated, “Like many people at the time, I thought it was a pilot error.” Chertoff was the head of Homeland Security in 2005 to 2009. To his thinking, since the end of the Cold War, three developments have profoundly changed the world and therefore the world of security threats. One was that globalization radically changed the potential impact of a network or even an individual, offering the ability to travel, communicate, and exchange money. Two, the technology revolution has allowed people to cause massive destruction with just the push of a button. The third was the increase of “ungoverned space” where there is no true rule of law, has enabled terrorists to recruit, plan, and train undetected. During a discussion, Chertoff outlined the shift in the nation’s approach to security, one he argued happened before the attacks of 9/11. The actions of that day only served to highlight “something we hadn’t recognized and which the law had not adequately accounted for,” and underscored the need for a new framework aimed at combatting terrorism. What are the events that had shaped airport security before the attacks of September 11th 2001? Airline hijackings were very frequent in the mid to late 1960s. They most commonly were committed by individuals seeking transport into Cuba. This caused airlines to apply policies of screening all passengers and bags before they are to board the aircraft. The FAA applied this new policy in an effort to avert the carrying of weapons used to compel hijackings. During the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, multiple high-profile terrorist hijackings and attacks were carried out overseas and shocked the traveling public and the airlines, arising potential problems of acts of terrorism toward the airline industry within the U.S. However incidents in example of those were still perceived as an event that would never happen to or in the United States. This perfectionistic thinking was shattered in 1987 when a Pacific Southwest Airlines’ ex-employee made use of an expired identification badge to pass through security, board a company jet liner with a weapon and shoot his supervisor, the pilot and co-pilot leaving the aircraft to go down with 38 people aboard. Not only was this not a terrorist event, but it came from within the ranks of the airline industry itself. This event, attached with the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, demanded attention to the need for additional airport security measures. This stimulated the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (1989) and the following passage of the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990. Since these incidences, the FAA has applied numerous measures to protect against this and other types of acts of air piracy and terrorism in the U.S. Some of the measurements were practical while others included physical and electronic security measures. The Abundance of the focus had been on regulating the access of persons into the operations areas at airports, therefore limiting access to aircrafts. In 1989, the Federal Aviation Regulation was written into law. It mandated that an airport must be able to implement control over an employee's right to gain access to the airport’s operations area using an access control system. In detail, this regulation states that any airport with a regular passenger aircraft service (one flight per day) that consumes 60 seats or more must be able to; (1.) Ensure that only the persons authorized to have access to the secured areas by the airport...
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