Despite Personnel And Tech, Contraband Still Sneaks
Airline travel has become a huge
hassle, in part because of security restrictions imposed on the
industry after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While many airline
passengers welcome the added precautions in the interest of
safety... are all the lines, expensive high-tech equipment and
shampoo confiscations really making us safer?
The Orlando Sentinel quotes officials at Orlando International
Airport in reporting that despite elaborate and expensive measures
implemented after a drug and gun-running operation was exposed in
Orlando, gun-smuggling through Orlando remains a problem at the
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority spent $5 million on
security upgrades after last year's incident in which airport
workers were involved in a scheme to smuggle guns to Puerto Rico,
as ANN reported.
The thought that passengers could make it all the way to the
terminal in Puerto Rico before they were arrested triggered a
requirement that all employees entering the flight line and other
secure areas be screened, every time they enter, 24 hours a day.
Five mobile X-ray machines will be brought online sometime this
year, dedicated to screening items carried in by employees.
Pedro Toledo, Puerto Rico's police superintendent, told the
Sentinel his officers are working with agents of the US Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives bureau, "...to resolve the problem
of arms and drugs that are bought here and sent through the airport
to Puerto Rico."
Orlando police Chief Val Demings concurred, saying, "We have a
strong presence out there keeping on top of illegal weapons coming
in and out."
Both men admit the problem is ongoing, however... and that
despite the airport's best efforts, guns and drugs continue to
elude detection. That news is bad enough; if Orlando is one of only
two airports required to screen arriving employees 24/7, what about
the 400 other commercial airports in the US with even-looser
Charles Slepian, an aviation-security consultant in New York
City, made this sobering observation to the Sentinel: "Keep in mind
the story just last week about the cat that jumped in someone's
suitcase and made it through security. I suggest a live animal is
much easier to recognize than guns and explosives."
If you were looking for reassurance, you won't find it