Airport Crowd Vulnerabilities: Lessons Learned From Brussels Terror Attack

Lacy LangleyLife

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Airport crowd vulnerabilities are almost impossible to ammend and a problem that has haunted security professionals since terror attacks became an issue over four decades ago.

It seems security and terrorists are constantly trying to stay ahead of each other. Once, it was in the airplanes hijacks that were the issue, then checked luggage and then smuggling weapons through screening.

Now, after the Brussels attack, it seems the focus should be more on the airport crowd that gathers around the security check points.

That part of the airport crowd has simply not been tackled yet because, according to Douglas R. Laird, former director of security at Northwest Airlines and now head of Laird & Associates, Inc., it's nearly impossible.

He said, “Those areas really can’t be protected,” adding that, anyway, once they were, “all that is going to happen is that they will go after the train, the bus or whatever.”

Laird insists that the focus should be on counter-terrorism intelligence.

He said, “By the time they get to the airport, the game is over. You can’t have police everyplace.”

However, Brian Jenkins, a senior security analyst at the RAND Corp., has a more pro-active idea.

He suggested constant and random changes in security measures, saying, “Random is always good,” and that terrorists “don’t like things that they can’t predict. They want to know that a target is unprotected.”

And, of course, there is always the option of adding even more security than already exists.

Americans in general are not too keen on any more invasion of privacy than already goes on at airports these days, but this could be where the times are leading us.

Peter W. Harris, president of security consulting firm Yankee Foxtrot, says random checks and bringing in much deeper security measures is the answer to safe airports.

He said, "Political correctness has become a liability for the traveling public,” adding of the Brussels attack, “Maybe this is a wake up call, but people have very short memories.”

Harris' suggestions include random screenings, though his comments suggest a possible return to racial profiling, as well as bomb-sniffing dogs and passenger interviews.

Airport crowd security is a hassle as it is. Would you be willing to go through even more in the name of safety?

Lacy Langley
Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.