Hearing called to address stalled security clearance process. The White House is struggling to streamline the process for granting security clearance for federal job applicants and contractors, writes The Washington Post's Stephen Barr. Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, called a hearing on the issue and said national security programs suffer when it takes applicants a year to obtain proper credentials. The White House also issued an order saying it would set up a process for complying with laws calling for a simpler clearance process. Jun 29, 2005
Feds report dangerous pattern of airport incidents in Dallas, Los Angeles. Federal investigators have reported a pattern of potentially dangerous incidents at airports in Dallas and Los Angeles, according to media reports. At Los Angeles International Airport, jets were mistakenly parked on a runway used for takeoffs. In Dallas, regulators found some air traffic controllers were not reporting incidents of planes flying too close to each other. None of the incidents have caused accidents. The report said the Dallas incidents "represent safety deficiencies and undermine the public's confidence in the air traffic control system," USA Today reported. Jun 24, 2005
U.S. must fix, secure infrastructure. Fixing and securing infrastructure is one of the nation's "most complex problems," said Barry R. McCaffrey, a national security expert and retired U.S. Army general. McCaffrey sees progress in homeland security, but said political leadership is needed to solve the problem, Construction.com reported. McCaffrey, along with other security and airport leaders, spoke at the Top Firm Leaders Forum this month in Chicago. Jun 24, 2005
Despite screening, lighters making it through airport security. Several travelers flying through Minneapolis say they have made it through airport security checkpoints with at least one lighter in their pocket or carryon bags, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. A TSA spokesman said the system for detecting lighters is effective, and the incidents do not necessarily indicate failed screening efforts. Jun 24, 2005
Despite screening, lighters making it through airport security. Several travelers flying through Minneapolis say they have made it through airport security checkpoints with at least one lighter in their pocket or carryon bags, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. A TSA spokesman said the system for detecting lighters is effective, and the incidents do not necessarily indicate failed screening efforts. Jun 24, 2005
Registered-traveler program gets off to a slow start. Computer glitches complicated the first day of a registered-traveler program at Orlando International Airport, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The program uses biometric information to speed travelers through security lines. But many applicants, who pay $80 a year to participate, arrived at the airport without the necessary forms of government identification. Verified Identity Pass runs the program, and CEO Steven Brill said the company's computer server crashed for several hours. But he also said he was happy with the number of travelers the company was able to register. Jun 23, 2005
Biometric security program debuts in Florida airport. A private program that uses biometric information to speed travelers through security lines debuted this week at Florida's Orlando International Airport, The Associated Press reported. Passengers pay $80 a year to participate in the program. They supply their biometric data at airport kiosks. The data is then submitted to the Transportation Security Administration for verification. The TSA hopes up to 30,000 people participate in the pilot program. Jun 22, 2005
TSA buys commercial data on airline passengers. The Transportation Security Administration said it has purchased some commercial data about passengers, The Associated Press reported. The TSA, which is testing the Secure Flight terrorist screening program, told Congress it would not seek out commercial data about travelers. Jun 21, 2005
Runway congestion creates greatest risk for commercial flights. The riskiest part of commercial flying involves congestion on airport runways, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Federal Aviation Administration, hoping to cut the number of accidents, is improving training and upgrading technology. Additionally, Honeywell International has developed technology that will warn pilots if their plane is lined up on the wrong runway.
Jun 21, 2005
Airports look for tailored technology innovations. Technology is becoming vital to airport operations, and airports are looking for ways to tailor it to their facilities, Engineering News-Record reports. In Phoenix, for example, the Sky Harbor Airport has installed a new paging-assistance system that allows travelers to send each other messages through the terminals. Jun 20, 2005
Puffer machines may reduce airport pat-downs. New explosive detection devices will help reduce the number of passengers patted down at security checkpoints, The New York Times reported. The Transportation Security Administration will equip large airports with "puffer" machines by the end of the year. The walkthrough devices detect trace amounts of explosives. Jun 16, 2005
U.S. to rework biometric passport plan. The United States will revamp its plan to require biometric passports for people coming into the country when they don't have a visa, according to The Associated Press. An anonymous official with the Homeland Security Department said the standards have not yet been released, but there would be plans to include biometric data in passports. Jun 15, 2005
Some lawmakers leery of passport proposal. Sens. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., last week urged the Bush administration to reconsider a proposal that would require Americans...