Airport Perimeter Security 'a Joke,' Congressman Says
The next 9/11-like attack will not pass through airport security, a Republican congressman and former airline pilot told a top TSA official, according to a report from Politico.
Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) said the next attack will come from the ground.
Cravaack, who was a commercial airline pilot for 17 years, said at a Wednesday hearing that he has received several calls telling him that security around airplanes on the ground “is a joke,” Politico reports.
“I’m going to tell you right now: The next incident will come from the ground; it’s going to come from the shadow of the aircraft. It’s not going to go through the passenger terminal,” Cravaack told John Sammon, assistant administrator of TSA’s Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement.
The TSA has focused its efforts on passenger screening since the 9/11 attacks, but airport perimeters remain unsecured and the clearance process for airport workers is lacking, the Department of Homeland Security reports.
Cravaack said that because of his aviation background, people call him to express their worries about ground-side security.
“Would it surprise you, sir, if I told you that several people – both pilots and ground personnel – have told me the security around the aircraft, coming from outside sources, is a joke?” he asked Sammon.
There was no answer.
The DHS IG report found that airports have no consistent definition of what a perimeter breach is, making reporting and analyzing such breaches difficult, Politico reports.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chair of the House Homeland Security panel that held the hearing, said that is no excuse.
“That’s just B.S.,” he told Sammon and the acting DHS IG. “The fact is that a breach is a breach. … Please don’t excuse that anymore in your remarks,” he added, noting that both referred to the absence of a national definition.
A hearing will soon be held to discuss airport perimeter security.