Thursday, August 10, 2006

Airport Security Revisited: Inadequate Action

I wrote this to our President and also the Director of Homeland Security over one year ago as the result of my obervations as a frequent flyer. Why doesn't someone take some positive steps to prevent a disaster before it happens? Common Sense 101.

Date: July 28, 2005 1:29:23 PM PDT
To: comments@whitehouse.gov and homeland security (dhs.gov)
Subject: Anti-Terrorism Program

Dear Sir,

Last week a friend of mine was in a horrible accident on a local freeway in Los Angeles. He quickly called 911 on his telephone. After repeated calls to 911 for over 30 minutes he was unable to get through. If he was calling to report suspicious potential terrorists activity he would have just got a busy signal.

The best way to prevent terrorism is through vigilant people making Homeland Security or other Anti-Terrorism agencies aware of suspicious situations that may or may not be linked to an actual horrifying event. Obviously, calling 911 does not work.

I suggest you consider a special number such as 666 for vigilant people to call in case of a potential bomb threat or suspicious activity. One of the issues in fighting terrorism utilizing vigilance is reinforcing the need for all citizens to pay attention of what is going on around them. In a few months things will return to the way it was before the London tragedy. People need to be reminded and it has to be part of a program such as "Project 666".

Secretary Chertoff in his address recently to a Congressional committed stated that there is no way to protect our infrastructure of subways and mass transit. He cited the lack of funds and personnel to adequately support these efforts. If we can spend $180 Billion on the Iraq war then we can find the money to fight terrorism. It was interesting that shortly after his talk the City of New York introduced random searches at train stations and subways. However this program was immediately
dilutely by their position that in anyone refused they could simply walk out of the terminal. This negated their new program.

The nation needs to hire a staff of as many security officers it needs to respond to 666 calls. Yes, it will be expensive but the cell phone is the only tool that US citizens can use against terrorism. This program must continually make citizens aware that they can help- It must be an ongoing program.

It is also important to define a new policy regarding carry-on knapsacks and luggage on airlines. All carry-on must be contained in a seamless plastic see-thru bag. In a major department store, employees must use a see-thru bag when they carry things into work. They use this as part of their security system to stop employee theft. Several different versions of see-thru carry-on luggage must be made available to accommodate the variety of needs of the travelers. If it is not see through it is checked in at the terminal as baggage. I have personally witnessed the ineptness of Argenbright and other security companies. Sometimes I leave my computer in by carry-on and it goes through undetected. Sometime I have to take my shoes off and other times no. I am disabled and when I had to use a wheel chair in O'Hare I was put through the lines quickly and was basically un-inspected. I could have carried on anything. The use of poorly trained and mismanaged independent security companies is not doing the job! See through bags is the only way to be able to inspect everything. The airlines are also falling short. I recently flew from Maui to Los Angeles on American Airlines. During the first 30 minutes the pilot cabin door was opened 4 times without following normal security procedures.

Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestions and input. Your agency needs to more not less. The funds have to be made available to get the job done. I feel much safer flying Air France where the passengers go through an added level of screening just when they are about to get on the airplane. This is also done in Africa. They don't mess around. With see-thru carry-on luggage it takes this process to a more secure level and that is what we want- Security. I am continually amazed at how we as a country remain saddled the most ill-equipped and ineffective security at our airports. If France, Africa, Israel and other countries can develop and utilize more effective programs then why can't we? We should take the lead and institute new programs that are above and beyond those offered in other countries.

David Freeman
Concerned Citizen
PS: That's Right- During travel to 3rd World Countries in Africa the screening procedures at the airport were tighter than the good old USA! Go fiqure, if it cost a lot of money the African's could not afford it- so they just have to work harder on the job to get it done right!

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