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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
US airports safer but not watertight
Miami airport
Miami is endorsed as one of the safest US airports
Federal undercover inspectors in the United States managed to get one in four weapons past airport security checkpoints in June.

The fake guns and bombs and other weapons got past screeners during tests at 32 major airports.

How the airports check out
Slackest controls: Los Angeles
Model screeners: Miami, Newark, New Jersey, Fort Lauderdale and Honolulu
Strictest checkpoint: Bradley International Airport, Connecticut
But the figures released by sources in the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) show a marked improvement on the situation when supervision was in the hands of the airlines.

The TSA assumed responsibility in February as part of moves to tighten security after the 11 September terror attacks.

When TSA inspectors tested security prior to February at the 32 airports they found that knives were missed 70% of the time, guns 30% of the time and fake explosives 60% of the time.

TSA sources who spoke to US media this week said that the test done in June showed Los Angeles as particularly vulnerable to infiltration. Staff there missed prohibited items 41% of the time.

Among the airports scoring best for security were Miami, Newark, New Jersey, Fort Lauderdale and Honolulu, which all had detection rates of at least 90%.

Federal employees are actually manning checkpoints at only three airports currently but the aim is to have private security guards at all airports by 19 November.

Boomerang effect

The TSA has made clear that its list of dangerous articles is not exhaustive and any object deemed a threat may be banned from an aircraft cabin.
Betsylew Ross Miale-Gix with boomerang
Ms Miale-Gix is a world-class competitive boomerang thrower

Police were called in at Bradley International Airport, Connecticut, at the weekend when one passenger objected strongly to having boomerangs removed from her hand luggage.

Betsylew Ross Miale-Gix, a world-class competitive boomerang thrower, was briefly arrested after arguing with a security screener.

She now faces a criminal charge.


Key stories

European probe

Background

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