RealNews

Few Convictions in Airport Security Cases

On Nov. 19, law enforcement officials summoned reporters to a news conference to announce the arrests of scores of workers at New York airports as part of a national security crackdown. They gave chilling examples of restaurant workers, mechanics and other employees gaining access to secure areas of airports by lying about their criminal past. “These individuals represent a significant vulnerability to the security of our air transportation system,” Roslynn R. Mauskopf, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, said at the time. In 15 cases in Brooklyn federal court, defendants have pleaded guilty, and more than 30 others are working their way through that court. But nearly four months after the news conference, as the first of the cases stemming from the crackdown begin to reach juries, the federal prosecutors are having difficulty winning convictions. In the first three cases to go to trial, juries quickly acquitted two of the defendants, and a judge dismissed the charge before the jury could vote in the third case. Though it is too early to measure the success of the initiative, the first Brooklyn cases to come to trial present a microcosm of the debate surrounding many of the aggressive law enforcement efforts since the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Prosecutors say new security concerns require action, while some civil liberties lawyers argue that many of the arrests seem aimed mostly at public relations and ignore the cost to the people selected as examples. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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