Counter-Terrorism: Who Guards the Guards?


February11, 2007: Who guards the guards? One of the biggest problems with air port security is the ease with which uniforms and credentials of security personnel are stolen. At one of the largest airports in the United States, Los Angeles (LAX), 800 screener uniforms and badges are missing. Every major airport in the country has a similar problem. This is because screeners, in uniform and wearing a badge, are regularly allowed to walk right past security checks. Moreover, most air ports also have isolated gates that are opened with a special card. You guessed it, lots of these access cards are lost or stolen.

This is a problem that is most often exploited by thieves, not terrorists. Airports, especially the air freight operations, have been a thieves paradise for a long time. But as past experience has demonstrated, terrorists avail themselves of criminal suppliers whenever they can. Nose around the underground and you'll find someone who can get your screener uniforms and Ids. However, if you are of Middle Eastern appearance, expect to be turned down, to asked to pay a much higher price. Terrorism cases draw much more attention from the police than does airport thievery.


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