5 Suggestions for Upgrading Airport Security: Clifford D. May

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The United States should take advantage of the near-miss terrorist attack on Christmas Day and seriously consider large scale reforms to airport security, says Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. May offers up several changes for the Department of Homeland Security to ponder:

1. Adopt a Quasi-Israeli Model: When was the last time you heard about an Israeli airline dealing with a terrorist attack? There’s a reason why: Israel has developed one of the best methods of airport security. Instead of focusing on potential weapons, Israelis zero in on passengers by asking a special set of questions to determine who might be a threat.
2. Set Up a Travelers’ Registry: May insists this idea could be voluntary to avoid trouble from civil libertarians, and it would give screeners more info than they have now about passengers.

3. Fix the Visa System: Stop having young, inexperienced Foreign Service Officers in charge of issuing Visas overseas. Seasoned diplomatic officials should be doing such screening to keep the likes of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from getting into the U.S.
4. Use Advanced Technology: Time to upgrade scanners at airports and stop using equipment that can’t detect explosives such those used by Abdulmutallab and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid in 2001.
5. Fix What Else Is Broken; Stay on Offense: “Airport security is not the only feature of our national security architecture that was poorly designed,” writes May. “Intelligence is also among the areas where reform has not succeeded and needs to start again.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Reinventing Airport Security (by Clifford May, Foundation for Defense of Democracies)


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