Boris Lvin (bbb) wrote,
Boris Lvin
bbb

911

Большая статья о проблемах безопасности полетов. В общем, подтверждает высказанное ранее.

Заслуживают специального выделения следующие пассажи:

"The history of the security issue and much of the debate goes like this: Tragedy, Step 1. Outrage, Step 2. Barrage of proposals, Step 3. Reports, Step 4. Recommendations, Step 5. Step 6: lots of jawing about it. And Step 7, sort of incremental, long, drawn-out processes that don't get it done," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), an aviation panel member.

...

In a detection machine, knives may look like scissors or knitting needles.

...

In a series of tests in the mid-1990s, FAA officials found that careful positioning of a large hunting knife in a carry-on bag rendered it virtually invisible to an X-ray.

...

"Something as simple as a good door could have changed everything," said a Washington-based airline pilot who watched Tuesday's drama unfold from his home in Northern Virginia. "Cockpit doors are so flimsy you can easily kick them down -- that's true of any Airbus or Boeing out there."

Aviation security experts have known for years that cockpit doors were vulnerable. Although FAA guidelines require that the doors remain locked during flights, they can be breached relatively easily, as they have been on numerous occasions. Not only are the doors flimsy, but they can be opened using a single master key that works for any aircraft of the same model.

Since 1998 there have been at least 14 attempts by drunk or disturbed passengers to force their way into airliner cockpits during flights, six of which have been successful. In June 1999, a passenger armed with an eight-inch knife forced his way into an All Nippon Airways cockpit and fatally stabbed the pilot.

Although some international airlines have shifted to stronger doors -- Israel's El Al Airlines features a door secured with steel rods -- the idea never caught hold in the United States. Both the FAA and the pilots favored flimsy doors to help cockpit crews escape in a crash.


...

Tomorrow a hastily composed task force of representatives from the airline industry, the FAA and employee unions are to meet for the first time to discuss fortifying cockpit doors. The Air Line Pilots Association is now lobbying to retrofit jets with fortified doors.

Capt. Stephen Luckey, longtime chief security official for the pilots group, acknowledged that the union's position is a 180-degree reversal.


Статья целиком:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38092-2001Sep15.html

How Terror Could Break Through

At the Airports: Risks to Security Detected, Debated for Many Years


By Gilbert M. Gaul, James V. Grimaldi, and Joby Warrick

Washington Post Staff Writers

Sunday, September 16, 2001; Page A01

Before Tuesday's terrorist attack, security at the nation's airports was filled with gaping holes that had been documented for more than a decade in thick government reports and agency files. But attempts to fix the problems again and again met industry resistance or government inaction.

Plans to equip all 450 U.S. airports with high-tech bomb detection equipment slowed to a crawl over cost. Recommendations to improve the quality of minimum-wage workers manning passenger screening checkpoints met repeated objections. Security enhancements, from criminal background checks on workers to fortifying cockpit doors against unauthorized entry, either withered or were bogged down in rulemaking.

"The history of the security issue and much of the debate goes like this: Tragedy, Step 1. Outrage, Step 2. Barrage of proposals, Step 3. Reports, Step 4. Recommendations, Step 5. Step 6: lots of jawing about it. And Step 7, sort of incremental, long, drawn-out processes that don't get it done," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), an aviation panel member.

The thwarted efforts left a porous line of defense that was exposed to the world Tuesday when 19 Islamic fundamentalist terrorists passed undeterred through security at three airports, commandeered four commercial jets and turned them into the equivalent of 200-ton cruise missiles.

Although it is not known exactly how the terrorists penetrated airport security, the operation's success underscored failures in at least three major areas: the long-standing gap in federal rules that has allowed knives aboard airplanes, the protection and security of the cockpit and the systems used to screen passengers before boarding.

Bringing Knives Aboard

The boldness and simplicity of last week's terrorist operation raised a common-sense issue that had never surfaced in years of congressional and regulatory proposals: The hijackers carried small knives and box cutters, which until last week were legal on airplanes.

The security gap dates back to the 1960s, when Congress approved legislation to ban concealed weapons from airplanes and struggled to define which weapons were truly life-threatening.

Lawmakers debated the constitutional right to bear arms and the interests of traveling sportsmen and fishermen. In the end, after a lawmaker fretted over the possibility that knives could be deadly, Congress left definitions open to interpretation by regulators and the courts.

Before Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration permitted knives up to four inches long, even while barring hazardous materials such as refillable cigarette lighters and large blocks of dry ice, which gives off carbon dioxide and can make breathing difficult.

Screeners are supposed to judge whether a knife looks "menacing," with the definition left to individual workers. Regulators have said that hurried screeners would never be able to detect every sharp or metal implement that could conceivably be used as a weapon. In a detection machine, knives may look like scissors or knitting needles.

"I have never heard anyone question whether small knives should be banned," said Jerry Wright, security manager for the Air Line Pilots Association.

Stopping knives is not easy, and knife aficionados has constantly tested the system with products made of ceramics and other undetectable materials.

In a series of tests in the mid-1990s, FAA officials found that careful positioning of a large hunting knife in a carry-on bag rendered it virtually invisible to an X-ray.

"You don't have to be too smart or too sophisticated," said Leo Boivin, who retired earlier this month as chief of the FAA's Red Team, which scours security systems.

Jeff Lieser, 25, a Washington political fundraiser, said that for the past several years he and his brother have gone on fishing trips, departing from Logan International Airport in Boston. They have carried on the planes a tackle bag that included several extremely sharp, 8-inch fillet knives.

This summer on a flight to Minnesota, he said, "we were talking about how easy it would be to pull a knife on a plane. Quite frankly, we were kind of scared at how lax it was."

Flimsy Cockpit Doors

Amid the questions about just how last week's hijackings were carried out, this much is certain: The terrorists could never have succeeded had they been kept out of aircraft cockpits.

This leads to a question now haunting many commercial pilots: If cockpit doors were stronger, would the victims be alive today?

"Something as simple as a good door could have changed everything," said a Washington-based airline pilot who watched Tuesday's drama unfold from his home in Northern Virginia. "Cockpit doors are so flimsy you can easily kick them down -- that's true of any Airbus or Boeing out there."

Aviation security experts have known for years that cockpit doors were vulnerable. Although FAA guidelines require that the doors remain locked during flights, they can be breached relatively easily, as they have been on numerous occasions. Not only are the doors flimsy, but they can be opened using a single master key that works for any aircraft of the same model.

Since 1998 there have been at least 14 attempts by drunk or disturbed passengers to force their way into airliner cockpits during flights, six of which have been successful. In June 1999, a passenger armed with an eight-inch knife forced his way into an All Nippon Airways cockpit and fatally stabbed the pilot.

Although some international airlines have shifted to stronger doors -- Israel's El Al Airlines features a door secured with steel rods -- the idea never caught hold in the United States. Both the FAA and the pilots favored flimsy doors to help cockpit crews escape in a crash.

"It is made to be torn down," said Al Prest, vice president of the Air Transport Association, which represents large airlines.

Before Tuesday, he said, the industry also assumed that terrorists willing to kill passengers would be able to blackmail the pilot into opening the door anyway, no matter how secure.

Tomorrow a hastily composed task force of representatives from the airline industry, the FAA and employee unions are to meet for the first time to discuss fortifying cockpit doors. The Air Line Pilots Association is now lobbying to retrofit jets with fortified doors.

Capt. Stephen Luckey, longtime chief security official for the pilots group, acknowledged that the union's position is a 180-degree reversal.

"That was on Monday," Luckey said of ALPA's earlier opposition. "We're at war now. We weren't at war on Monday."

Passenger, Baggage Screening

Some security experts argue that the United States needs to take a page from security measures used by El Al and from other airlines operating in terrorism hot spots.

Airport check-in should slow considerably, they say.

Federal agents should grill passengers about their destinations and reasons for traveling, carefully examine identification and use the decidedly low-tech approach of laboriously hand-searching every item of carry-on baggage.

Such measures may seem Draconian to Americans, even as invasions of privacy or civil rights violations. But as a security specialist said, the U.S. airline industry now has suffered far more terrorism deaths than any other nation and should respond accordingly.

The U.S. systems for screening both passengers and baggage have been fraught with problems, bringing harsh criticisms and urgent warnings from federal reviewers. The FAA allows airlines to handle their own security, under plans approved by regulators.

At check-in, airline employees are supposed to ask passengers a checklist of questions and alert security personnel if they see suspicious activity.

Passengers may be pulled aside for questioning if they fit a suspicious profile; tip-offs include using irregular -- such as stolen or phony -- credit cards or buying one-way tickets. Apparently, none of these precautions kicked in during Tuesday's terrorist operation, when hijackers, including two on the FBI's terrorism watch list, boarded without detection.

After check-in, passengers must pass muster with screeners who often work for foreign-based corporations that hold low-bid contracts with individual airlines.

The screeners have been described in audits, federal performance reviews and criminal investigations as undereducated, poorly trained, underpaid, inattentive, at times having questionable backgrounds and just plain ineffective.

The screeners operate X-ray and detection equipment but frequently miss suspicious objects, reports have shown. Tracy Schadeberg, a former security tester for three major airlines, said she routinely dropped a simulated gun or hand grenade in her purse, then sneaked past checkpoints. Sometimes she got past a bundle of fake dynamite sticks, wired to a large clock.

"I was flabbergasted," she said.

Attempts to improve the effectiveness of airport screening have been consistently weakened, delayed or ignored, government documents show.

Last year, for example, Congress passed the Airport Security Improvement Act of 2000, a bill intended to jump-start stalled actions with increased funding.

An early provision would have more than tripled, to 40 hours from 12 hours, the amount of training screeners must have before airlines allow them to operate detection equipment.

But by the time the bill passed, the weakened language allowed airlines to bypass the 40-hour requirement and devise their own training plans.

"I was amazed," said Cathal L. Flynn, a former FAA chief security official. "I thought, 'What on earth does this mean, other than this is a giant loophole?' "

Similar debates date to 1990, when a presidential commission appointed by George Bush proposed a series of screening reforms.

Airlines balked at an FAA proposal requiring criminal background checks of airport workers, arguing that such checks should be required only when an applicant's employment record showed a gap of a year or more. The weaker version was adopted.

After the TWA Flight 800 crash near Long Island in 1996, Congress passed legislation again ordering the FAA to improve efforts to check bags for bombs and passengers for weapons. Reform seemed inevitable.

But when the crash investigation found that the accident was caused by a fuel tank problem, not a bomb, "all of the momentum just stopped," said a former federal transportation official.

The FAA in 1997 wanted new certification requirements for passenger-screening companies in an effort to improve performance. More than a year later, the agency realized it had not created standards or done a proper cost-benefit analysis. More public comments were solicited.

By the end of 2000, the FAA was promising the rule by April, but it was held up for review along with all pending regulations after George W. Bush was elected president.

"We ought to go through the process, but we ought to move it along far more expeditiously," said Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), a member of the House aviation subcommittee. "When [rules] frustrate and cause delay on end, they just create opportunity for tragedy."

Now several members of Congress are resurrecting an old proposal to federalize the entire security process.

Airline officials, who have complained that regulation adds layers of red tape to a fiercely competitive business, said last week they are willing to "look seriously at nationalizing the air-passenger screening process" and other reforms, the Air Transport Association said in a statement.

Growing Fears of Terrorism

Despite the logjams, government reports show mounting fears that terrorists had identified a vulnerability in airline security and would continue to exploit it.

The Bush Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism in 1990 asked for a special unit that would coordinate law enforcement intelligence and assess new threats.

"The commission thought this could be a special unit that would really think ahead, be anticipatory, really get into the heads of the terrorists and what they might be thinking next," Oberstar said.

The unit was never created, Oberstar said. He was told the CIA and FBI were already on the job.

Six years later, in the aftermath of TWA Flight 800, another commission headed by then-Vice President Al Gore cited the same problem.

"If airlines were provided more information about the threat, they could help design more effective responses," the Gore commission reported.

By 1997, the FAA concluded that "terrorism can occur within the United States" and could best be addressed by a long list of rule changes to tighten security loopholes.

The rulemaking process took four years, challenged at every turn by individual airlines, air trade associations, airports and law enforcement organizations.

"Rules just take a long time," FAA spokeswoman Rebecca Trexler said.

The rules are expected to take effect this month.

Staff writer Joe Stephens, researcher Alice Crites and database editor Sarah Cohen contributed to this report.
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