A wide-ranging review of post 9/11 security by the US Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) insists that focusing on the detection of prohibited items rather than terrorists' malicious intent leaves aviation vulnerable to future attacks.
Capt Bob Hesselbein, chairman of ALPA's national security committee, says screening should focus on behaviour. "Since the events of 9/11, the guiding threat-driven, risk-managed principle has been obscured at times with the advent of programmes that seem to add little or nothing of value to security efforts while having a negative impact on the functioning of the aviation industry. Because of terrorists' ingenuity, it is difficult to accurately predict the form which a future attack on an airliner or airport facility may take. Suicidal hijackers, bombers or other types of attackers exhibit behaviours that can lead to their detection prior to arriving at an airport or boarding an aircraft even when their 'tools' are not detected," he says.
ALPA recommends "non-intrusive individual risk-assessment programmes" using software and personal interaction techniques allied to multi-pronged passenger processing at security checkpoints to swiftly approve "the well-established, well-known and historically safe traveller".