Airport it, and of course—the north and

Airport security has changed drastically since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, in New York City on the World Trade Center’s famous landmark, the Twin Towers. The use of specially trained security officers began to take effect in airports all over the United States. In addition, regulations concerning liquids, baggage, and personal security were enhanced vastly. The safety of every person is vital to airport security screeners that is why they are implementing new and improved technology and precautions to maintain the wellbeing of those who are aboard the plane. The new question that has arisen for passengers is: does airport security during a post-9/11 era make you feel safe or anxious?    September 11, 2001, was truly a traumatizing day. It started off just like any other day until disaster struck at 10 am. Four planes were sequentially hijacked and crashed into different historic monuments: the Pentagon, buildings adjacent to it, and of course—the north and south twin towers. (Peter L. Bergon Britannica) All 19 terrorists died in addition to the 3,400 innocent workers and firefighters. (Peter L. Bergon Britannica) There were pictures of missing loved ones being posted on mailboxes, shops, and street poles, it was a very heartbreaking day. The first question I would like to answer is: how much safer have these new airport policies made us? Well, two months after the after the 9/11 attacks, Congress federalized airport security by establishing an act called the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which then generated the Transportation Security Administration. This administration has authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States. (Jason Villemez PBS) Preceding 9/11, security had been handled by each individual airport.     Along with this new corporation, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent to advance security and strengthen it for travelers. The Central Intelligence Agency alone has doubled their budget. (Ashley Hayes CNN) Some of that money went into the complete installation of modified cockpit doors and an upsurge in sky marshals. (Anthony Tyler IATA) As for the U.S. no-fly list, at the time of the September 11th attacks, 16 people were on it, now that number is in the thousands. (Anthony Tyler IATA)    Immediately following 9/11, all international flights to and from the U.S. airspace were grounded for three days. Machine-readable passports became mandatory in airports so screening could be more efficient and accurate. (Anthony Tyler IATA) Law enforcement and surveillance authorities in airports are more aggressive and are able to uncover plots much easier. Suspicion is also on the rise, for example, buying something as simple large amounts of fertilizer now initiates red flags. (Ashley Hayes CNN) Amy Zegart, an associate professor at UCLA’s School of Public Affairs who served on the National Security Council said, “We’re never safe. The question is, are we moving in the right direction? The answer is yes, but we still have a long way to go.” “The to-do list for U.S. security remains long,” Zegart said. (Ashley Hayes CNN) While the U.S. has made strides in preventing a potential terrorist attack from coming into the country, homegrown terrorism remains one of the biggest threats our nation faces.  (Ashley Hayes CNN)          This chart was created based on the statistics from this website. (Anthony Tyler IATA)    The next question is: what changes, exactly, were and currently are, being added to the line of security? Well for starters, the new TSA implemented procedures that included stricter guidelines on passenger and luggage screening. This includes advanced x-ray technology. (Jason Villemez PBS) Pilots on the plane can now apply to become a federal flight deck officer, allowing them to carry a loaded gun and act as a federal officer aboard the plane. (Jason Villemez PBS) Hardened cockpit doors on aircrafts with sixty or more people were placed. Before 9/11, cigarette lighters and smoking were allowed on an aircraft, fortunately now, that rule has changed for the better. (Jason Villemez PBS)    Prior to 9/11, airport security screeners were often unable to detect possible threats found on passengers and/or their luggage, these threats include cutting devices, guns, bombs, and airborne pathogens. (Alycia Taylor IFPO) At the time of 9/11, George Bush was the president of the United States. He wanted to make sure that the heightened security would take effect before the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas which are the two largest traveling times of the year. (Alycia Taylor IFPO) Criminal background checks on 750,000 airport employees and hand inspections were also implemented. (Alycia Taylor IFPO) Have you ever had something taken away at the airport? That is because that item broke the new regulation rules and the TSA had to confiscate it. The TSA has confiscated over 4.8 million prohibited items. (Alycia Taylor IFPO) Air travelers are limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item. (Alycia Taylor IFPO) And since the 9/11 attacks, only passengers are allowed past the screening checkpoints to the gate. (Alycia Taylor IFPO)    The TSA utilizes imaging technology among other advanced technologies, for example, explosive trace detection and bottled liquid scanners. (John S. Pistole) These provide us with the best opportunity to detect both metallic and non-metallic threats including explosives. (John S. Pistole) Efforts done by the TSA are most visible by airports, but their security goes onto a much deeper level both seen and unseen by travelers. The TSA also employs other specialists including behavior detection officers, federal air marshals, explosives specialists, and canine teams as part of its sanction to keep the country’s transportation systems safe. (Britannica TSA)    The final question I would like to have answered for you is: How do other country’s security compare to the United States airport security after 9/11? Some aviation and security experts suggest the United States would be wise to embrace practices already in place in Western Europe. (Mike Fish CNN) Airport security is viewed as a career path in many Western European countries, where there is a different approach to airline security. (Mike Fish CNN) Security screeners are often twice as well paid and vastly better trained than their U.S. counterparts. (Mike Fish CNN) A major police or military presence is also found in these foreign airports, and the government or airport has ultimate responsibility for screeners—not the airlines, which is the case in the U.S. (Mike Fish CNN) “The pay, the training, the benefits, are all significantly different,” said Gerald Dillingham, aviation security. (Mike Fish CNN)    In Western Europe, salaries for screeners range around $10 per hour, higher than is in the U.S. (Mike Fish CNN) Corresponding to a GAO study, of the 103 countries with international airports, just two place screening liability on the air carriers: Canada and Bermuda. (Mike Fish CNN) Contrary to the U.S., Belgium requires screeners to be citizens; France requires screeners to be citizens of a European Union country. (Mike Fish CNN) And finally in the Netherlands, screeners do not have to be citizens, but it is a requirement that they have to have been residents in the country for at least five years. (Mike Fish CNN)    After 9/11, America was broken, so many loved ones were affected by this violence. We didn’t know what to do at first because it was our first large-scale terrorist attack. Luckily, new airport protection undertook a turn for the better and stopped many threats, attempts, and suspicions of terrorists through the intelligence of our security workers. We are undeniably safer, but always in need of refinement to the system. There have been many changes that have been made to keep us safeguarded. By making these innovations we are one of the most highly secured nations in the world. To concatenate my thoughts, I will end by saying, the changes made to airport security are to benefit us and keep us more protected.

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