It has been more than two years since the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, yet airport security remains a problem. In the past few months, there have been multiple, widely-publicized breaches, and it is still imperative that the government treat airport security as a priority.
The most recent case is that of 20-year-old student Nathaniel Heatwole. In September, Heatwole e-mailed the Transportation Security Administration with his precise contact information as well as details of where he had stowed bleach, box-cutters and other banned materials that he had smuggled through security checkpoints and put on two planes.
According to The Associated Press, the items were not found until last week when the TSA finally decided the e-mail was significant enough to be passed on to the FBI. It has yet to be determined whether Heatwole will face legal repercussions for his actions, but the mere fact that it took authorities five weeks to find the hazardous materials, even though the perpetrator e-mailed them the details, should speak volumes about the effectiveness of security measures.
The American City Business Journals Inc. reports that Argenbright Security, an Atlanta-based security company, is responsible for 17 of the 20 larger U.S. airports. Argenbright came under attack Tuesday when two security personnel left their post unattended at Boston’s Logan International Airport. In the same week, at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Argenbright representatives let an undercover government official, carrying knives and a stun gun, pass through metal detectors.
It is common for the government to set these situations up in order to test the effectiveness of the current airport security methods. The airports should be passing them easily since they had two years to upgrade their systems and train new personnel.
In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, the issue of airport security seemed high on the government’s list. It is apparent after breaches like the ones that have occurred within the last month that the government no longer holds it to such a standard. The airports need to be held accountable as well because they are obviously not implementing the rules that have been issued.
Both parties have to work together in order to prevent occurrences, such as the Sept. 11 attacks.
If nail clippers and hot beverages are considered dangerous contraband, then box cutters and stun guns should be, too, and every precaution should be taken to keep such objects from getting on an airplane.
It doesn’t matter if youngsters are trying to prove a point or government officials are testing the system, it is obvious that the security measures are not working yet.