Airport Security Beset by Technology Failures
Posted on Sep 2, 2006
The Transportation Security Administration has suspended the installation of trace-detection portals, the machines that detect explosives on passengers. The move comes amid criticism that the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security have been unable to develop and implement effective airport security tools.
New York Times:
The portal problems are part of a pattern in which the federal government has been unable to move bomb-detection technologies from the laboratory to the airport successfully. While workers at the Homeland Security Department laboratory here busily build bombs to test the cutting-edge equipment, the agency still relies largely on decidedly low-tech measures to confront the threat posed by explosives at airports, particularly at checkpoints.
Members of Congress and former domestic security officials blame poor management for stumbles in research, turf fights, staff turnover and underfinancing. Some initiatives have also faced opposition from the airlines or been slowed by bureaucratic snarls. Among the troubled or delayed efforts are the following:
The agency conducted tests last year that members of Congress and a former Homeland Security Department official called ?disastrous? and ?stupid? because the agency had not tested the smaller, cheaper baggage-screening device in the way it was intended to be used.