Terror struck London on Wednesday, just four days after another attack took place at Paris’ Orly airport. Press releases expressing our sympathies and proposed counteractions are becoming too common, and yet there has still been no federal movement on AAAPO’s simple, commonsense initiatives to support our airports and the police who patrol them.
The FBI, DHS and National Counterterrorism Center issued a memo this week emphasizing that U.S. airports continue to be a symbolic target for terrorists. Citing last year’s deadly airport attacks in Turkey and Belgium, and the downing of a passenger jet over Egypt in 2015, the memo called for additional security measures at airports. As AAAPO has previously stated, better airport security can be achieved by stationing a police officer near TSA screening, providing airport police real-time accessibility to CCTV footage, and screening all airport employees.
AAAPO’s recommendations are not without merit, as this week’s memo notes that a) airports are prone to attack because of the presence of large crowds in unsecured areas, thus the need for police to be stationed near TSA screening areas, b) technology should be used to monitor sensitive areas, thus the need for police to have access to all cameras at airports, and c) there is a risk posed by insider threats, thus the need for the screening of all employees.
“This is happening too often,” said Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “The TSA is gambling with the lives of the American people and our entire airline transportation system and economy. The security environment in our nation is growing more sensitive with each passing day and every terrorist attack in the world. As we have seen, international threats often foreshadow threats on our homeland. We must preempt these threats with effective security for our nation’s airports, which can be hotbeds of potential attacks. We must take steps toward security now to prevent harm later.”
“It is always hard to watch terrorists strike and particularly difficult to lose another law enforcement officer, this time in London, to terrorists,” said Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “London, Paris, New York — leading cities across the world are in their bullseye. We must stay on the offensive and enact smart and effective security policies at airports in our nation. We do not want to be looking back at another attack in the U.S. knowing that lives could have been saved and terrorists could have been contained by enacting basic protocols that have already been identified by airport police but frivolously ignored by the TSA and airports.”