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At the airport - like a doctor, on an airplane - like in a prison: the 9/11 attacks revolutionized air travel

Today, September 11, is the 20th anniversary of the tragedy. The attacks have not only become part of US history forever - they have overhauled airport security regulations around the world. What has changed in 20 years and what innovations to expect yet, the publication said "Voice of America".

Photo: Shutterstock

The events of September 11, 2001, recalls Thomas Carter - then he saw with his own eyes how the planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

“When you see all these events, you understand that from now on everything will be different,” - said Carter.

Today he is the director of security for the US federal agency that controls the country's airports. Says that airport security has relied more and more on technology in recent years.

"Technologies - it is a key aspect and main tool of our counter-terrorism mission, ”explains Carter.

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These technologies include various scanners, which are used to analyze a suspicious item in a bag, and light waves, which check the liquid for explosives. And at passport control - the latest technology for face recognition, which can quickly confirm the identity of a person.

There is also a machine that scans the contours of the body using radio waves that pass through clothing in search of something unusual, such as explosives or bomb-making devices. She is considered one of the main checkpoints.

“Terrorists usually plant explosives right on top of them, and this machine allows us to detect such things,” explains Carter.

Some of the airport security technologies are borrowed from medicine. Computed tomography is based on magnetic resonance imaging.

“This allows inspectors to get a high-quality image of the baggage,” says Carter.

He does not rule out that in the future, technologies will reach such a level that passengers will be able to scan themselves at checkpoints with extensive use of biometrics.

“This covers face recognition, retinal scans or fingerprints,” says the director of security.

The 20th anniversary of the tragedy, he said, will become not only a day of remembrance, but also plans for the future to maintain flight safety.

Advanced technology, coupled with the patience of passengers, can help you complete your air travel safety mission.

What changed

Checkpoints with TSA (Transportation Security Administration) employees, designed to prevent another attack, have changed in the two decades since 11/XNUMX, and passengers have become accustomed to such routine activities as taking off their shoes and banning liquids. Popular Science.

But some of the most exciting airline security innovations that have emerged from the 11/20 tragedy remain invisible to passengers. These include a radical shift in philosophy about how the flight crew will deal with the hijacking, as well as the physical manifestation of this shift in the form of reinforced cockpit doors. Other changes are less straightforward and more controversial. This is how airline security has actually changed since XNUMX years ago.

Flight crew attitude change

Experts point to a dramatic change in how pilots respond to hijacking today. Before 11/9, the standard was to cooperate to some extent. For example, take the hijackers wherever they want to in order to ensure the safety of passengers. But in the aftermath of the 11/XNUMX attacks, keeping potential terrorists out of the cockpit at all costs has become a new priority.

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11/XNUMX taught pilots that following the rules could actually make the situation exponentially deadlier.

Reinforced cab doors Is a physical example of this new philosophy. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publicly urged airlines to install them in January 2002. Barriers are designed to protect the cockpit "from intrusion and fire from small arms or fragmentation devices such as grenades." The FAA directive, among other things, instructed airlines to improve door locks "so that they can only be unlocked from the cockpit."

Passenger attitude and cooperation

Like flight crew members, passengers also have a different mindset. “We know that on September 11, the passengers on the last flight understood what was happening and resisted,” the expert says. "It reflects the attitude that prevails today." According to him, in the event of a modern theft, the instigator will face a real risk of physical violence from "frightened passengers."

One trend that has improved significantly since 11/11 (which people don't see at all) is inter-agency collaboration. Since XNUMX/XNUMX, there has been unprecedented cooperation between intelligence services and law enforcement agencies around the world.

Passenger behavior and equipment

The most noticeable level of aviation security for passengers, of course, is associated with people and vehicles at checkpoints managed by TSA.

The Transportation Security Administration has done a good job of implementing a program called Secure Flight, says Tina Vaughn Sherman, director of Homeland Security and Justice at the GAO Government Accounts Chamber (Accounts Chamber); this includes obtaining passenger information from airlines and matching it to a potential terrorist watchlist.

But there are also weaknesses, which include the actual equipment TSA uses to inspect passengers, bags and cargo. The GAO cares about maintaining this technology: if it has worked well over the years since its early days, has it been tested to make sure it is still sensitive to the right levels? Sherman says that, for example, equipment designed to detect explosives, "TSA has not really tested" if the devices are working with the correct sensitivity. She refers to "the deterioration of the performance of these technologies."

There is also a bizarre and problematic area of ​​behavior analysis - the idea of ​​looking at how someone is acting in order to try to guess if they are a threat. Two examples of behavioral indicators that the GAO can provide are bizarre. According to the report, TSA is looking at "the way of swallowing and the degree of eye opening."

Sherman says that while TSA used to have officers whose main task was to monitor passenger behavior, these specific positions no longer exist. For now, she said, they were simply training rank-and-file transport security officers to recognize behavior.

Aviation security now plays a different role

As a result, the larger idea reflects how the country now sees the role of aviation security.

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“The federal government took it upon itself and obliged to take a number of additional measures,” the expert says. “But I think that apart from the regulatory changes that happened after 11/XNUMX, it was really a change in attitude towards aviation security being a component of national security.”

Permission to shoot down captured aircraft

The current US President George W. Bush in 2001 allowed the air defense forces to shoot down captured passenger aircraft, if necessary, without reporting to him, writes "Ukrainian Truth".

The circumstances stipulated by this order include the location of the hijacked liner in the vicinity of important facilities.

From now on, the commander of the air defense of the continental United States and the lieutenant general in charge of air defense forces in Alaska, Hawaii and other Pacific territories have the right to order the destruction of a civil aircraft.

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