FAA: Broward sheriff abused power with airport security tests

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FAA: Broward sheriff abused power with airport security tests

Sunday, September 23, 2001

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE The Federal Aviation Administration accused the Broward County sheriff's office of abusing its authority by ordering deputies to sneak knives and box-cutters past airport security.

FAA officials said Friday that only their agency has the power to conduct such tests. However, Cheryl Stopnick, a spokeswoman for Broward sheriff Ken Jenne, said her office wanted to make sure screening at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was being done correctly.

n The FAA has repeatedly denied Broward sheriff Ken Jenne's request to allow his office to conduct criminal background checks on all airport employees.

"He (Jenne) felt he had a moral obligation to see that the airport is safe for himself, his family and the public at large," Stopnick told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "Our intent was not to hijack a plane."

Last week, three undercover deputies carried a pocket knife, box-cutter and cutting tool in their clothing and purses past metal detectors and X-ray machines without being stopped. They walked into two domestic flight gates and an international concourse, police said.

Jenne said that following the tests, which took place after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, airlines increased the sensitivity of the metal detectors and that at least one security employee was fired. FAA officials declined to confirm the actions.

"That is the FAA's mandate," FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. "Aviation security is a federal responsibility and we are tasked with conducting any surveillance of security at the major airports."

Earlier this week, a federal investigator slipped three knives through a passenger checkpoint without detection at Miami International Airport.

The FAA has repeatedly denied Jenne's request to allow his office to conduct criminal background checks on all airport employees. The agency has also refused to tell him when the metal detectors were last tested.

"What's clear is that at this point, we have a system that is going to change," said U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch, D-Fort Lauderdale. "A lot of us have felt for a long time that it was broken. You have security done by the low bidder, and it is not a very efficient or intelligent way to run the system."


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), September 25, 2001


FAA Confirms Sea-Tac Security Breach

September 25, 2001 By Bryan Johnson

Johnny Vasques

Email This Story SEA-TAC AIRPORT - The FAA confirmed Tuesday that a man was able to get through a Sea-Tac Airport security checkpoint not once, but twice, with a pair of box cutters.

KOMO 4 News reported the story exclusively on Monday.

Johnny Vasques called KOMO 4 News Monday afternoon while waiting for an American Airlines flight from Sea-Tac to Dallas to say he had gone through Sea-Tac security twice, and that officials had missed two box cutters in a backpack he was carrying.

Vasques, an electrician, says he uses the box cutters in his work and had forgotten they were in his bag.

Not Detected

He told KOMO 4 News that he realized he was carrying the cutters in his backpack when he reached in there to answer his ringing cell phone at gate C-18. He called us because he was concerned that the devices had not been detected by metal detectors or security staff at the C Concourse.

KOMO 4 News called Port of Seattle operations, and officials immediately escorted Vasques away from the flight area and began reviewing tape of surveillance cameras at the concourse.

Investigators told KOMO 4 News Tuesday that the incident was indeed a security breach, and that they are looking into how the security staff could have missed the cutters.

The security firm in charge of the C Concourse was hired by Alaska Airlines and operates on behalf of American Airlines.

Alaska Airlines says it is disappointed in the breach and was trying to get to the bottom of just what happened. Officials say security is dependent on the outside firm.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), September 25, 2001.

Man Passes Airport Security With Gun Web Producer: Sean Rowe Reported by: 11Alive Staff Last Modified: 9/25/01 3:55:26 PM More Details related links

A 63-year-old insurance agent from Tennessee faces charges after he walked through a checkpoint at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport with a handgun in his pocket that went undetected.

Atlanta police said Monday night that Charles Hildreth of Collegedale, a suburb of Chattanooga, realized he had the .22-caliber pistol in his pocket when he reached his concourse. He immediately notified authorities Sunday afternoon. He told police he walked through the checkpoint and the warning machine did not go off.

Hildreth had a permit for the gun. Atlanta police charged him with having a firearm in a prohibited area. He was released but ordered to report to court in Atlanta on October 9.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), September 25, 2001.

This "Kill the Messenger" attitude where the authorities arrest people who voluntarily notify them of an accidental security breach is reprehensible, and tells a lot about TPTB's attitude toward us ordinary citizens. It's clear that they are more concerned about being embarrassed than they are in discovering and closing security breaches. Anyone remember when government existed "of the people, by the people, and for the people"? Sayonara to that and Hello Fascism.

-- Jim Davis (JD1649@aol.con), September 26, 2001.

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