Do You Feel Secure Flying? [AUDIO]
A new federal report finds the Transportation Security Administration has failed to adequately gather information about security breaches at Newark Liberty, and other airports across the country - and as a result, has not made needed security improvements.
Security experts are shaking their heads in disgust and disappointment.
Tom Kean, former Governor of New Jersey and the Chair of the 9/11 Commission, says the reports about TSA slip-ups are very discouraging because "we understand that everything is not going to be perfect - and there are going to be mistakes- but if we don't learn from those mistakes, then the public safety is in danger."
He says "certain things must be done…we have to screen for explosives- we know they're trying to do that - we have to make sure not a large amount of liquids go through …but there are very few airports other than in the U.S. where they screen for shoes anymore…there are things they're doing they probably don't have to do…the trend in most parts of the world seems to be more focused on doing more pre-screening before passengers show up at the airport…what we're way over-do on is having a better trusted traveler program for folks who are will to provide a means of identification that are biometric…the fingerprints, eyeballs or what have you - and they shouldn't have to wait in the lines anymore."
Kean also says Al-Qaeda is definitely interested in blowing up jetliners with all kinds of new-fangled bombs, and …"we have to get sharp enough to identify the people before they take this stuff on the planes...the bomb-makers unfortunately are a little ahead of the technology of detection - so there are plastic explosives now that we will never detect…that means we have to detect the people who are carrying them- hopefully the technology will evolve where we can detect all of these things, but it's not there yet."
He adds "it makes me very nervous - we get distracted by a lot of things…but we must never lose track of safety - our safety is the first responsibility of government - we can never take our eyes off that…when I hear these reports I worry very much that we are taking our eyes off the ball - and if take our eye off the ball, Al-Qaeda is still out there -and they're still out to kill us - so we've got to have our guard up - and we've got to make sure we're doing everything right and we just can't afford any slip-ups."
Gabriel Rubin, a professor of Justice studies at Montclair State University - says the TSA slip-ups are not surprising because "it's so common to hear about security problems…even when TSA was first created, people were sending gun parts through security - guns - doing this as a form of protest - to show up TSA…luckily we have good intelligence before would-be terrorists get to the airport- so we haven't had any catastrophic things happen due to poor airline security…but it looks like the security at the airport is not what it should be It comes down to balancing the economic concerns of the airlines with our security…this agency has gotten lax and people demand to get through to their flights faster."
He adds the TSA screening techniques need to be upgraded and improved, "but it doesn't mean you have to racially profile, but maybe things could be a little smarter in our strategy…it's disappointing to hear about the incompetency of some of these people at TSA…we have to look at what the real threats are rather than being worried about every little thing that might pass through."