Lawmaker: Airports Still Vulnerable to Terrorists

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A new congressional report reveals that U.S. airports are still vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Although billions of dollars have been spent on increased security since 9/11, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, noted there've been 25,000 security breaches since 2001.

Of that number, more than 14,000 people were able to access sensitive areas of the airport. And about 6,000 passengers and carry-on luggage were able to make it past a check-point without proper screening.    

And "these are just the ones we know about," said Chaffetz, who is overseeing a congressional hearing on the matter. "I think it's a stunningly high number."

"Security breaches in the thousands, all these many years after 9/11, should concern the American people," said Clark Kent Ervin, director of the Homeland Security Program at the Aspen Institute.     
 
The Transportation Security Administration insists the data is misleading, noting the thousands of breaches reported still represent only a fraction of 1 percent of the travelers that have been screened.

"Certainly it's a small percentage given the large number of people screened," Ervin conceded.
 
"On the other hand, we know from hard experience - 9/11 - that one security breach can be catastrophically fatal," he added.

Only last week, a cleaning crew on a Jet Blue plane found a stun gun that had made it past security.
   
And in June, a Nigerian man made it across the country using a stolen ID and an old boarding pass.

"We can have the best technology. You can have the best processes and plans, but again, it comes down to the human factor and human error," said Joseph Morris, former TSA security director at John F. Kennedy Airport.
     
Congress is holding hearings Wednesday to investigate why airports remain vulnerable to terror attacks.

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