US announces measures to beef up security at airports

1 June 2015 (Last Updated June 1st, 2015 18:30)

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced certain measures to tighten security at the national airports, after a series of trials of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners found serious security lapses.

In a recent trial by the Red Teams of DHS, officials disguised as passengers and underwent security checks at airports. Almost 95% of the times, the screeners failed to detect potential weapons and banned items on the agents, reported ABC News.

The report stated that in one of the incidents, the screeners stopped an undercover agent after an alarm was set off, but failed to find a fake explosive device on his back during a follow-on pat down. Reportedly, the screeners failed 67 of the 70 tests.

DHS secretary Jeh Johnson said he had instructed TSA to revise its standard operating procedures for screening immediately and also carry out more tests to re-evaluate the situation in all airports across the country.

"We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve."

Airports will also go through random covert tests to validate their measures.

Johnson said: "The numbers in these reports never look good out of context, but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security.

"We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve."

The federal directors of all airports across the country will be informed about the findings of the tests.

TSA will also need to conduct training programmes for both transportation security officers and supervisory personnel to make them better prepared to deal with the vulnerabilities revealed through the tests.

The two agencies will overlook the status of the measures and would ensure that the steps are being implemented.