RealNews

Some Fear Confusion Still Rules the Skies

But agencies responsible for air defense say recent communications breakdowns were aberrations and that security is greatly improved since Sept. 11. More than 1,500 times since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, fighter jets have been scrambled or diverted to intercept airplanes that raised security alarms. “Before 9/11, the FAA had to pick up a phone and alert us,” said Lt. Joel Harper, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Now “when there is a [radar] track of interest, the FAA and our folks see that at the same time.” But the sense of reassurance that should come from such aggressive responses has been punctured by recent communications breakdowns in which officials frantically tried to determine if another airplane attack could be imminent. A false hijacking alarm at Los Angeles International Airport in May, a June 4 incident involving a photography flight over New York and an episode that led to the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol amid preparations for former President Reagan’s funeral have prompted concerns that communications flaws persist. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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