Feel Safer?


While the country anxiously waits (in a TSA airport security line, likely) for Michael Chertoff's next case of indigestion, a surprise TSA security check at the Albany airport last week produced some disturbing results. Airport screeners failed five of seven tests, and TSA officials were able to sneak four banned items past screeners. In one case, screeners confiscated a bottle of water, but missed bomb components in the same bag. The Albany Times Union reports:

TSA inspectors also have found lapses at other airports around the country, including Newark Liberty International Airport, where last October screeners failed to detect bombs and guns in luggage, and last month at two airports in Houston, where seven employees were found to have either expired security badges or no credentials at all.

WTOP news here in D.C. reported that after the Albany incident, TSA immediately conducted an investigation…into who leaked the results to the press.

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office tested the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and found that a fake company with fake names and fake credentials was able to secure real licenses to buy real radioactive material.

The undercover operation involved an application from a fake construction company, supposedly based in West Virginia, that the investigators had incorporated even though it had no offices, Internet site or employees. Its only asset was a postal box.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials did not visit the company or try to interview its executives in person. Instead, within 28 days, they mailed the license to the West Virginia postal box, the report says.

That license, on a standard-size piece of paper, also had so few security measures incorporated into it that the investigators, using commercially available equipment, were able to modify it easily, removing a limit on the amount of radioactive material they could buy, the report says.

James Bovard sounded the TSA alarm for reason back in February 2004.