[FoRK] Fighting the good fight

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Thu Sep 2 21:08:04 PDT 2004

"We guarantee we will close every barn door in the world, as soon as the 
horse has left"

U.S. tightens security on Russia flights

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*By Leslie Miller*


Sept. 2, 2004  |  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two airlines that fly from Moscow 
to the United States must check passengers and their carryon bags for 
bombs, according to a government order Wednesday, one week after 
suspected terrorists crashed two Russian planes.

"The U.S. has determined it's prudent to take additional security 
measures to increase the protection of flights between the U.S. and 
Russia until we have more information to assess the situation," said Amy 
von Walter, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration.

The airlines affected are Delta Air Lines and Aeroflot Russian Airlines, 
which fly to the United States four times a day from Sheremetyevo 
International Airport, a Homeland Security Department official said. 
Aeroflot has direct flights from Moscow to New York, Seattle, Los 
Angeles and Washington, D.C. Delta offers daily flights between Moscow 
and New York.

The two planes that crashed on Aug. 25 after near-simultaneous 
explosions, killing all 90 people on board, had left Moscow's Domodedovo 
Airport on domestic flights. The planes belonged to the Russian airline 
Sibir and a small regional airline, Volga-Aviaexpress.

Delta and Aeroflot were ordered to conduct tests of all passengers and 
their bags for explosives using various technologies, von Walter said. 
The airlines also must conduct more thorough screening of all cargo put 
aboard passenger planes, she said.

Airlines must take additional security precautions around the aircraft 
when they are at the Moscow airport, and they must inspect the aircraft 
before passengers board, said a Homeland Security Department official 
who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Russian authorities are looking into the possibility that suicide 
bombers brought the planes down, and are seeking information about two 
Chechen women believed to have been aboard -- one on each plane.

Rafi Ron, former head of security at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and now 
a security consultant in Washington, said the U.S. government should not 
limit the stricter security for U.S.-bound planes from Moscow.

Like the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, Ron 
advocates better technology at airport checkpoints so more passengers 
can be inspected for explosives. Currently, metal detectors -- both 
hand-held and walk-through -- do not sense nonmetal bombs, and only 
those passengers selected for extra screening are checked for bombs in 
U.S. airports.

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