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Report: More needs to be done regarding US security

August 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's been nearly a decade since the terror attacks of Sept. 11. A report released Wednesday morning says the U.S. is undoubtedly safer, but serious flaws remain in security.

According to the report, the country is still highly vulnerable to aviation security threats. The head of the commission says the U.S. still hasn't gotten it right, and the failure to detect explosives is one of the nine unfinished recommendations in the report.

Even the authors of the report acknowledge that the nation has come a very long way. People's shoes are checked before they board a plane. A lot of things are checked, and it's unlikely someone would be able to take a bomb on a plane large enough to bring the plane down.

The report notes that explosive detection technology can't automatically identify concealed explosives, and whole-body scanning machines are not effective in detecting hidden explosives inside a body.

"Security is a long process. You have to remember on Sept.11, 2001, we didn't have the technology in place that we have today. So it all needed to be developed over the last decade - developed, tested and deployed - and it's a process," said Nico Melendez of the TSA.

The commission report card also gave an F grade to a remedy for the communications breakdown on 9/11. Police and fire units in New York were on different radio frequencies and could not talk to each other.

"Legal policy and cultural barriers between agencies created serious impediments to information sharing that prevented disruption of the 9-11 attacks," said Tom Kean, 9/11 commission chair. "It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than it was before 9/11. And those changes, we believe, are among the things that facilitated the capture of Osama bin Laden."

The report card gave the FBI and CIA As for working together and disrupting many terrorist plots, including the capture and killing of terrorists. It goes on to say that the terrorist threat is evolving and there remain large vulnerabilities.

In their response, TSA said, "While the industry has not developed a silver bullet technology, TSA tests and deploys the world's best screening technology ?a global leader in setting the technology for standards that safely screen passengers, luggage and air cargo."


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