WASHINGTON — New airport security measures – from limiting carry-on bags and screening for pocket knives to reinforcing cockpit doors and booking more sky marshals – all focus on terminals and planes, but overlook the gateways and ramps that connect terminals and planes, airport security experts point out.
They warn that ramp-side security is still weak, making planes vulnerable to terrorists looking to plant weapons or even bombs on board.
“The locks on gateway doors are easy to pick,” said Steve Elson, a former Federal Aviation Administration security inspector. “It wouldn’t be hard for terrorists to access a ramp and plant explosives in the cockpit.”
Ramps need to be better secured, agrees John Morgan, who worked 11 years as a customer-service agent and supervisor for a major airline.
“Until the government and the carriers lock down the ramps, completely denying unauthorized personnel ramp access — and access to the airplanes — any positive security measures in the terminal and on the planes can be easily offset by anyone with ill intent on the ramp,” he said.
Just when you thought it was safe to fly again. …
Making checkpoint tantrums a crime
Airport checkpoint screeners get no respect – not even from pilots. When screeners last month confiscated a Northwest Airlines pilot’s fingernail clippers, for instance, he flew into a rage.
“You wouldn’t believe how these people are abused,” said Steve Elson, who until 1999 inspected security checkpoints for the FAA.
Reasoning that screeners would do a better job if they were treated better, he wants to see a law passed making it a crime to harass screeners.
“It’s a federal crime to interfere with crew members,” he said. “Why not make it a crime to screw with screeners?”
Anthrax or just the sniffles?
The emergency room at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida has been flooded with patients complaining of anthrax infection after two men who worked at a supermarket tabloid there were diagnosed with the deadly bug.
Turns out they were just watching too much bioscary TV.
“The ER is full of hypochondriacs with sympathetic symptoms,” a hospital source told WorldNetDaily.
The first signs of inhaled anthrax may resemble those of a common cold. The disease then progresses quickly into breathing problems, hemorrhage, edema and, ultimately, shock. Untreated, about 90 percent of cases are fatal.