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Status of Airline Security After September 11, 2001

Project ID: 

The Inspector General testified at a joint hearing of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring, and the District of Columbia, regarding the status of airline security since September 11. The IG said that the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department have taken steps to tighten security. OIG observations across the country confirm that security is noticeably tighter now than before September 11.

The IG noted, however, there are still alarming security lapses and some systemic vulnerabilities that need to be closed. He recommended that FAA take the following correction actions: (1) ensure that air carriers maximize the use of bulk explosives detection machines for screening passengers’ checked baggage; (2) issue the final rule on certification of screening companies to improve the screening of passengers, baggage, and cargo; (3) establish standards for measuring security screener performance based on computer-assisted testing and unannounced testing of screeners by FAA; (4) strengthen controls to prevent access to secure areas of the airport by unauthorized individuals; (5) conduct criminal history checks for all individuals, including current employees, who have unrestricted access to secure areas of the airport; and (6) strengthen controls in cargo security, particularly the process for certifying indirect air carriers (freight forwarders) and assessing indirect air carriers’ compliance with cargo security requirements.