DHS orders more security for direct flights to US from some airports

Everyone knows there are several third-world airports where security is lax.  Terrorists know which ones are vulnerable, and Sharm el-Sheikh airport, where the Russian plane that crashed took off from, is near the top of the list.

The Department of Homeland Security has ordered ramped up security – as far as they are able in a foreign country – for about 10 airports across the Middle East on direct flights to the U.S.

NBC News:

The announcement came on the same day Russia declared a temporary suspension of flights to and from Egypt.

"While there are no direct commercial air flights from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to the United States, these enhancements are designed to provide an additional layer of security for the traveling public, and will be undertaken in consultation with relevant foreign governments and relevant passenger and cargo airlines," DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement.

The U.S. is teaming up with foreign governments to ramp up security at airports with direct flights to the U.S. including Cairo and Kuwait as well as Amman, Jordan. In all, just under ten airports in the region are affected.

The enhancements include expanded screening of anyone or anything that goes on a plane — luggage, food, beverages and cargo. The screening also includes fresh assessments in conjunction with America's international partners of foreign airports and offers of other aviation and airport security assistance to those airports.

"You know while we can't rule anything in or out, we have to consider the possibility that of potential terrorist involvement here," White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Friday.

The security upgrade comes a year after the Transportation Security Administration issued an emergency directive for overseas airports to watch for explosive devices.

Whiile these are prudent moves, one has to wonder why it took a possible bomb destroying a civilian plane before DHS took these commonsense measures.  But this is the way the U.S. has approached security since 9/11.  We have been reactive to the threats, not proactive.  Part of that is no one wants to panic the public by ramping up securty – a move that would be detrimental to the airline industry, which was almost destroyed after 9/11. 

But there has to be a balance between trying to head off threats and not alarming the public.  And at times like this, we should come down more on the side of security rather than commerce. 

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