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Clinton calls for more security at Queens airports by Dec. 31

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Clinton’s call came July 24, a day before U.S....

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) urged the Transportation Security Administration last week to meet a Dec. 31 federal deadline to enhance security baggage screening at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

Clinton’s call came July 24, a day before U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta asked Congress for more time and money to fulfill what he called “a strict and inflexible mandate.”

The deadline, established by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act after Sept. 11, requires that explosive detection systems be deployed so that commercial airports, such as Kennedy and LaGuardia, have sufficient systems to screen all checked baggage by Dec. 31. The legislation also requires that if explosive detection equipment is unavailable at commercial airports, then all checked baggage must be screened by an alternate method.

After talking with security officials at the local airports, Clinton drafted a letter to Mineta expressing her concern that the agency was not providing adequate guidelines and resources for the airports.

“I have heard from those who run the airports in New York state, and I know that they are working hard to try and meet the Dec. 31 deadline,” Clinton wrote. “Unfortunat­ely, however, they have been given virtually no guidance from the TSA as to what their baggage screening and general airport security plans should be and how to implement those plans once they have been determined.”

But in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee last Thursday, Mineta acknowledged that the deadline was unreasonable and said the TSA needs an additional $1 billion, according to published reports.

– Courtney Dentch

Posted 7:13 pm, October 10, 2011
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