North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Analysis from a JHU CS Prof

  • From: David Charlap
  • Date: Wed Sep 12 17:03:43 2001

> Many really small regional airports allow you to board without
> going through metal detectors/bag x-rays. Once you get off the
> plane at the destination(larger airport) you're behind the
> "secure" zone, and can also board another flight without going
> through one.

In 1996, NBC's Dateline ran a story on the lack of security at major
airports (Boston and Newark).  During yesterday's news coverage, they
referred back to this story and mentioned that procedures have not
changed much since then.

According to that Dateline article:

- A Dateline staffer was hired to drive a cart around the airport,
  and was "promoted" to X-ray monitor after two days.  They never
  performed a background check, nor did they contact any of his

- Their people were able to walk through secure areas, onto the
  tarmac, into baggage compartments, into wheel wells, and into
  passenger compartments without incident.  Their person was not
  wearing any airport badge.  He walked past numerout airline
  employees and was never stopped or questioned.  They were
  successfully able to plant a package under a seat, and retrieve it
  at the plane's destination.

NBC's article from yesterday (which cites the 1996 Dateline article) is

No amount of questioning people at the ticket counter will do any good
when the hiring system can let people with no references and no
background check have unrestricted access to the airplanes.  With
security holes like these, the hijackers don't even need tickets.

-- David