Court Filing Details Shortcomings of 9/11 Airport Screeners - NYTimes.com
The only folks it appears that thought the screeners where pretty good, are the hijackers that died. The inescapable fact that everyone seems to ignore, is that the screeners did nothing wrong, in fact they did find knives on at least one of the hijackers, and stopped others for more screening, on their own. Everything the hijackers carried on board the aircraft was legal at that time. In fact I carried a spyderco knife called a copilot, right up to the day of the hijackers taking over the plane's and it was bigger that most if not all the weapons carried on the plane. It was called a copilot because spyderco made it just the right size to allow on planes those days.
So this rant on the screeners is way over blown. The hijackers, did not beat the screeners, they did not even try, they beat the system. Our aviation system was using a protocol that all flight crew where trained on. It basically said during a hijacking, all flight crew including the pilots had to follow all commands, including letting the hijackers take over the cockpit, although that had to worry the pilots a lot. So they beat the system, which is why the tactic would not work that way again. I sat with a large number of pilots a few days after the 9/11 incident, and we went thru the scenarios and no one would let that happen again.
If we want to blame anyone than blame the system, which by the way was developed over years, to counter the hijacking threats of the 60s, 70s, & 80s, and was working pretty well. Let the Hijackers take command, rarely if ever did they actually take control, but then let the FBI/FAA negotiate a landing site, and a release or rescue on the ground. Now it was true that hijackers in the past had talked about ramming the planes into a building, in fact a nuclear reactor was once a target. But the main threat was the take over and divert the plane to another location.
In fact the FAA had done a good enough job that hijacking had pretty much disappeared. The terrorists had moved on to bombs, in the belly of planes, the new threat the FAA was fighting. Which was why plans for screening belly bags had move forward.
One last issue, the FAA had determined that the training of the screeners was lacking, so they had a new curriculum in the works, most of which was used as the initial training for the TSA. Still the screeners had not fallen down on the job, and they did not know who Bin Ladin was, but 90% of the people in the world did not know, including many police and public safety people.
I met with a screener at Boston Logan, a week or so after 911, she was crying, and telling me passengers kept saying she killed all those people. For you out there that where screeners back then, thanks for all your good work, mistakes where made at times, but ask TSA mistakes still happen at times. You did not kill anyone.