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January 8th, 2010

Funk: Finally Fixing our Airline Security System

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Written by: The Iowa Republican
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airline_ticketsAs we all know, this past Christmas day there was a terrorist attack that failed on Northwest Flight 253 bound for Detroit. Again, our Nation has had its eyes opened as American lives were nearly taken mid-air. Even during the pre-9/11 era, these risks were high and we tried to fix the security issues facing the airline industry. After the creation of the TSA and moving into post-9/11, these same security risks are still not resolved.

After 9/11 we looked like we were doing something when in reality, we in fact, did nothing. The result of these security efforts by the TSA were only successful at slowing down the process of getting to your gate at the airport. I’ve been working with a team led by Admiral Cathal “Irish” Flynn and others including the Airline Security Firm of Laird & Associates and we’ve developed a solution. This morning that team sent an open letter to Senator Boxer outlining these solutions. We propose solutions that will more effectively help prevent terrorist attacks.

Rep. Leonard Boswell is on the House Subcommittee for Aviation. I’d like to reach out and give Rep. Boswell a chance to make our airways a safer place to travel before terrorists have another chance at killing innocent Americans. Here are the solutions proposed:

We need to combine intelligence and a careful selection of passenger information with redundant and data-integrated technologies. We need to use what we know. Passengers must be analyzed based on flight history and current flight plans. Individuals on the watch-list should never make it on an airplane let alone be given a US visa; especially when they have a one-way ticket from Amsterdam.

While all travelers must be screened, they do not need to be screened to the same level if a profiling system based on a prospective passenger’s previous and current flight activity is employed. With technology, we can effectively screen individuals and those that fit the profile can be sent through a separate line to be checked in where they can be further screened. Many people think of profiling in a racial sense, but instead it is done based on what we know about you, or in most cases, don’t know. The frequent business traveler or family on vacation does not require the same level of scrutiny as a Middle-Eastern young male with a one way ticket and no checked baggage.

We need to fully utilize the technology we have and the TSA needs to become more efficient at approving these technologies for use. These technologies include more effective explosive, radiological and chemical detection systems.

Rep. Boswell MUST review these proposals and bring the members of this team to Congress to testify and get our policies changed. We are not safe under our current circumstances and by merely ignoring these facts and implementing ineffective policies we are putting American lives at risk every day.

In addition, current Homeland Security Director Napolitano should resign immediately or be fired by President Obama.

Congressman Boswell, please do the right thing and help make America safe again.

The Team:
R.Adm. Cathal Flynn – Former FAA FAA Associate Administrator for Security
Steve Wolff – Former VP Product Development, InVision Technologies, Inc.
Douglas R. Laird, former Director of Security for Northwest Airlines
Jim Welna – Former Airport Police Chief at Minneapolis Airport; former Security Committee Chair of the Association of American Airport Executives
Peter Reiss – International Civil Aviation Organization Panel. Retired NWA Captain
Larry Johnson – Former Deputy Director for Transportation Security and Anti-Terrorism Assistance at the State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism

Written by Dave Funk
Candidate, Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District


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The Iowa Republican





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