has asked for an investigation into
recurring problems with government security screening computers at Los Angeles
after many thousands of people were stranded on aircraft and in terminals over
problems began Saturday August 11, when a computer switch failed on a US
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) local area network that carries travellers’
identity information and law enforcement records, says a CBP spokesman.
failure created cascading delays in international flight arrivals and
departures with some outbound flights reportedly delayed as much as 14hr, and
as many as 20,000 passengers stranded.
had smaller outages before but this was unprecedented,” says the spokesman.
“This created havoc for all concerned.”
second switch failed late on August 12. This affected only one of nine
terminals at the airport - the Tom Bradley facility - and was repaired quickly,
so no passengers were stranded on aircraft, says the CBP spokesman.
two switch failures were “unrelated,” he says, noting that they are not part of
the same network.
operations “are back to normal” today, he adds. The airport’s web site this
morning reported only general arrival and departure delays of less than 15min.
delays have spurred Los Angeles
mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
to ask the Department of Homeland Security to investigate. “I have been in
contact with Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff and senior CPB officials
to request a formal investigation and incident report, which should include
changes to procedures and protocols to ensure faster and more convenient
processing of passengers in the event of future systems failures,” says Villaraigosa in a statement.
Villaraigosa has also asked for
an increase in CBP staffing at both Los Angeles
to allow for more flexible response to future problems.
CBP, meanwhile, is “making changes and investigating other avenues and systems”
that could help avoid or mitigate such computer incidents in the future, says
the agency’s spokesman.