Out, Federal Government In
By Ted Westervelt
The highly trained federal police force that patrols the
US Capitol buildings and their environs and the extraordinary
security provided to the White House by the Secret Service
have set the standard in federal security services. These
services enjoy the full intelligence and national security
resources of the United States Government twenty-four hours
a day, seven days a week.
Only a full time federal force of air marshals, airport security
and air traffic control operating in direct and constant conjunction
with the existing security and intelligence apparatus of the
US government can effectively protect us from this new threat
posed to our national security by airborne terrorists. It
is the only measure that can effectively quell the fears so
recently burned onto our collective souls and, most importantly,
provide a real deterrent to those seeking to replicate them.
A welcome wave of patriotism has, for the time being, washed
away many of the obvious trappings of partisanship and petty
scandal that have cluttered our political discourse and the
24 hour news media for the better part of a decade. Largely
unanimous calls have gone out loud and clear on measures like
retribution and even new constitutionally controversial electronic
eavesdropping strategies. A stunningly successful military
operation and wide new invasions of privacy cannot in and
of themselves shore up the security policies that these terrorists
If we do not take the basic and profound step to fully federalize
airline and airport security we will remain vulnerable - both
in the eyes of our adversaries and the American public - to
the same kind of attack we all witnessed on September 11.
We must not allow cynical 20th century political sniping
on the size and scope of the federal government to keep us
from closing the loopholes that made left us staggeringly
vulnerable in the first war of the 21st.
Corporate or contracted security services would and should
never be employed to protect the Capitol and the White House.
Likewise, national security is simply a mission for which
any airline funded or corporate security force should never
be designed and could never be expected to accomplish.