The shooting at Los Angeles International Airport last week has sparked calls to look at TSA’s overall procedures.
John Pistole, TSA administrator, says he’ll be asking Congress for a thorough review, according to a report from NPR.
The shooting left one TSA officer dead and two other TSA employees and an airline passenger were injured. Suspect Paul Ciancia, 23, who was shot by police officers, faces charges of murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport. Legal documents say that Cianca fired repeatedly at TSA officer Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39. Cianca then turned back to see Hernandez move and returned to shoot him again.
One fallout debate appears to be focused on whether TSA agents should be armed, the same debate that surfaced after the agency was created shortly after 9/11. It also focuses on ongoing turf wars between airport police and the TSA.
Early on, armed police officers were stationed at airport entrances, NPR reports, but then some airports, including LAX, decided it would be better to have them moving throughout the facility.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday that Ciancia's actions show how difficult it is to protect travelers at a massive airport such as LAX, according to a report from The Associated Press.
The terminals are open and easily accessible to thousands of people. "It's like a shopping mall outside the perimeter, it's almost like an open shopping mall," McCaul said, according to the AP report.
Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, says arming TSA agents is unwise because they don’t have firearms training and “weren’t brought in to do the job airport police were,” he told NPR.
Instead, McClain says, there should be more fortification at checkpoints and more use of biometrics such as face-recognition software.
American Military University’s Jeff Hawkins disagrees. You can read his opinion in Security Director News’ Guest Blog section here.
Meanwhile, a number of airports are upset with TSA’s recent announcement that it will not provide personnel to secure airport exit ways. My hometown airport, however, has a new system already in place.