This past Saturday morning, Orly Airport in Paris was the target of an attack by a man carrying a weapon and a can of gas in his rucksack. The suspect grabbed a French soldier at the airport and used her as a shield before two other soldiers shot the man dead. This is yet another terror-related incident in France, which has been the target of repeated acts of terrorism over the last several years.
While Saturday’s incident is unfortunate, it was not unpredictable nor is an eventual attack on an American airport unforeseen. We must be prepared, and we are not. We are not implementing simple, commonsense protocols that could prevent or mitigate a similar incident here — such as posting an airport police officer near TSA screening checkpoints, giving airport police real-time access to airport cameras and screening all airport employees.
“Special thanks go to the soldiers at Orly, who responded to yet another attack on their country,” said Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “Terrorists of all kinds continue to threaten our way of life, and airports represent the Holy Grail to them. We have been lucky that something far worse has not happened in the U.S. in very recent history, but that luck is going to run out. If we don’t implement solutions to bolster airport security before something serious happens, the consequences could be deadly.”
“France should be thankful to the soldiers at the airport who put their lives on the line Saturday,” said Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association and co-founder of AAAPO. “If they had not been nearby, the hostage could have died. The absence of dedicated airport police near screening areas at U.S. airports should not be a gamble we take in the U.S. We are the most advanced country in the world. It’s time that our airport leadership, TSA and all of DHS reflect that.”