US Airport Security Breaches: 25,000+ Since 2001

Security Breach: The Murder of Tod McQuaid
New data released by the US government on 13th July has highlighted how US airports experienced over 25,000 individual security breaches over the past decade and stressed that current luggage screening technologies are, in the main, well outmoded.

According to the data – recorded between November 2001 and the present day – over 14,000 passengers successfully accessed restricted parts of airports, while others made the journey from terminal to aircraft without authorisation.

However, a representative for the US Transport Security Administration inferred, it’s important to view these statistics within the wider US air travel situation, with the numbers identified representing a minute percentage of the 5.5 billion passengers that passed through one or more of the 450 dominant airports in the US during the timeframe covered.

Likewise, Nicholas Kimball explained, the word ‘breach’ has a wide definition and can refer to non-deliberate violations, with no significant impact of the safety of the public.

US Airport Security Breaches
 
News organization USA Today was the first source to publish information related to these 25,000 airport security breaches in the US and, as this article was being prepared, the data was about to go before the House national security subcommittee.

“Many of these instances were thwarted or discovered in the act”, USA Today quoted Kimball as having stressed. “These events were reported, investigated and remedied. … We have taken extensive steps to increase the safety of the traveling public, and that is why airports today are safer than ever before.”

As per the information issued by the Government Accountability Office, a number of luggage-screening systems are over a decade out of date and many more are operating up to the 2005 standard. Since 2005, there have been two sweeping US airport security overhauls implemented, most recently in January 2010, in light of the attempted Christmas Day mid-air explosion.

25,000 Airport Security Infringements 

Even so, Kimball countered, in light of the release of this 25,000 airport security infringements data, explosive-detection technologies deployed at US airports still supply what he termed “the most stringent level of checked baggage security in the world.”

“All new EDS [Explosive Detection System] units purchased by TSA and technologies currently undergoing lab testing allow TSA to upgrade the software to meet revised standards without replacing the physical equipment”
, he continued.

“New EDS units purchased by TSA and technologies undergoing lab testing meet the 2010 standard.”

Airport Technology will return to this subject in future News coverage.

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