US warns of risks of identical airport security measures
Saturday 23 January 2010
Airports around the world must adopt different security measures or else it will become easier for terrorists to exploit weaknesses to carry out attacks, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday.
"What we do not want is a cookie cutter approach - where the same measures are in place everywhere - because then terrorists can plan and work around them," she told a news conference in Toledo in central Spain.
Napolitano recommended using a wide range of security measures, including information sharing on suspected terrorists and detection technology like full body scanners, to protect passengers.
"We need all of those layers in sequence to maximize the ability to protect travelers from terrorist acts," she said, adding full body scanners were "a tool" but "there must be a combination of other measures".
"Nations decide for themselves the combination of these measures," she added.
Napolitano is meeting EU officials to try to convince the EU to install body scanners at its main airports for use by US-bound passengers.
The United States has accelerated the installation of the scanners at its airports since the attempted attack on Christmas Day on a jet bound for Detroit from Amsterdam, and Britain and the Netherlands have followed its example.
But other European nations like Germany have been more cautious.
Spain, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, wants the 27-nation bloc to develop a common policy on the use of the scanners, which can "see" through clothing to reveal concealed liquids, explosives or weapons.
Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Thursday that the European Commission was carrying out the studies into the effectiveness of the devices as well as their possible impacts on health and privacy.
"Once we have these studies on the table we will make a decision," he told journalists following a meeting between Napolitano and EU interior and justice ministers.
The outgoing European Commission dropped plans to introduce the scanners Europe-wide in 2008 after the European Parliament opposed the move, calling for more studies on the possible radiation dangers and privacy issues involved.
Privacy campaigners say the technology violates European law by producing sexually explicit images of the passengers.
They have raised the possibility that images taken by the scanners could be leaked online.
Napolitano will later on Friday meet in Geneva with members of the International Air Transport Association - which represents approximately 230 airlines and more than 90 percent of the world's air traffic - to discuss ways to bolster aviation security.
"The reinforcement of air transport security is an international effort which involves all countries and companies. I am going to Geneva to listen to ideas and the problems she posed," she said.
IATA welcomed the collaborative taken by President Barack Obama's adminstration towards air security.
"This type of approach is really new, it is a historic first," an IATA spokesman said.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Thailand tourism video Love En Route criticised for featuring Instagram stalker
The Atlas of Beauty: Photographer travels around the world to capture cultural diversity through stunning portraits of women
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
Chief executive of Malaysia Airlines: The toughest job in travel?
The 10 Best hiking boots
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
£12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...
£23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...
£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...
£18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...