Spadea on Brussels attacks: Why we need better security in NJ, NY
This morning, the world is reeling from terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belguim that have left dozens of people dead. Explosions at the Brussels airport and subway system Tuesday morning have prompted a lockdown of the city and heightened security across Europe, as well as in the New Jersey-New York area.
We have to be vigilant against terrorists. That’s the new normal. It's OK to be inconvenienced if it means stronger security. The goal of security should be to stop the next attack before it happens, rather than reporting on an attack in Newark airport or another local US airport after it takes place.
To tighten up security at airports, we need to do two important things:
• The U.S. needs to get better on individual interviews on passengers like Israel. The Israelis do not profile based on ethnicity. They base it on behavior.
• We need to expand the buffer ring at airports. What needs to happen is to expand the checkpoints before even entering the building. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a metal detector, but at the very least it should be a check of your paperwork and an interview — at the very least.
I'm not alone in this thinking. One of our callers, Katie, a flight attendant with a major airline, told me Tuesday morning she sees the long lines outside of security at Newark Liberty Airport, waiting to be screened by the TSA, as a major vulnerability.
"Anyone can just walk right in, God forbid, and do what these people did in Brussels," she said. (Hear Katie's comments at the top of this post).
Katie argued for stricter security throughout airports, and even profiling.
"People are ignorant," she said. "They're unaware of what's going on in the world. Or they don't want to know what's happening in the world."
Dan in Middletown, who works in corporate security, told us he subscribes to the "defense in depth" theory of security — progressive rings, each harder to get through than the last.
For instance, he said, at an airport, we might have multiple checkpoints before even getting onto the property.
"The most effective technique is having roving guards or officers appearing in different areas en mass at different times," he said.
"You have to be what's called systematically unsystematic" to keep those who'd do harm unable to prepare, he said.
Dan told me he hears all the time from employees annoyed by how security gets in their way.
"Security doesn't speed things up," Dan said. "Security slows things down. And that's the purpose if it."
But Jim from Madison said he's uneasy with the idea: "We're giving up liberty when we do that ... and the terrorists like that."
Personally, I think this isn't a matter of losing liberty — it's a way of improving the screening we already have in place, and doing it in a smarter way that puts less burden on the TSA agents. But I understand Jim's concern.
"This is a dangerous world no matter what -- but if the terorrists are going to terriroize us and we're going to run away, then we're lost," he said.