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Crowley demands better screenings at LGA, JFK

"I would like to think that since the creation of the Department of Home and Security and more specifically, the Transportation Security Administration, that the security failures responsible for the Sept.11, 2001 attacks would have been resolved and streamlined by now," Crowley said."But even today, over three years after the attacks, airport screeners are not being provided with the appropriate training or the proper study materials. This is not only a disservice to our screeners but it is also a security risk which must be dealt with immediately." The Transportation Security Administration training program specifies that workers must be provided with three weekly hours of training to make sure they can intercept weapons and other contraband at airport checkpoints.Crowley said, however, that screeners are not getting the weekly training and have been forced to divide study time on one manual because the TSA refuses to provide every screener with a copy of the manual.Crowley said that even after "dismal results of the TSA certification program last year the organization has failed to make essential changes in the training process, thus leaving screeners unprepared and travelers at a heightened risk."Crowley, in whose congressional district LaGuardia Airport is located, appeared at a news conference with Miguel Shamah, president of the Metro Airport Workers Association. Crowley has been a vocal supporter of union representation for TSA employees and in February he signed a letter to President Bush and the TSA, urging them to reconsider their opposition to screener unionization.Crowley has also been a strong advocate of noise abatement at LaGuardia. The office of Queens Borough President Helen Marshall estimates that 150,000 Queens residents living close enough to LaGuardia are affected by landings and takeoffs at the airport.Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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