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Boston airport gets new security chief in wake of hijackings

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- The governor of Massachusetts reassigned the head of security of Logan Airport on Tuesday in the fallout from the September 11 terrorist attacks involving two hijacked flights that originated in Boston.

Gov. Jane Swift, in a televised speech, announced the appointment of State Police Superintendent Col. John DiFava "to assume responsibility for safety and security at Logan Airport on an interim basis."

DiFava replaces Joseph Lawless, who was reassigned to oversee security at the Port of Boston.

"We've all been searching our souls these past few weeks. That two of those planes took off from Logan Airport is particularly painful for us and raises serious questions about airport security procedures," Swift said.

Security at Logan has been under scrutiny since the terror attacks, and there have been security breaches since then despite new security measures.

Lawless, a state police officer for 13 years, defended his credentials in the days after the attack. He said preliminary findings suggested the hijackers had apparently boarded the flights without violating existing security measures.

Lawless makes $130,000 a year in the security post. He was appointed by then-Gov. William F. Weld in 1993.

DiFava, Swift said, has 26 years of experience and "is a proven law enforcement leader ... No one better understands the security needs of Massachusetts families."

Swift also named a six-member commission to review all the operations of Massport, the independent public authority that oversees the airport, and make recommendations to her for security improvements.

"They are not charged with placing blame or pointing fingers, but at the same time no policy, no procedure and no person is protected from scrutiny," Swift said.

In addition, Swift said she will ask officials in Washington to federalize security systems in airports around the nation.

"If they don't do it then I'm going to ask them to turn it over to state government," she said. "The citizens of Massachusetts deserve to know that they can count on one agency with the ultimate authority and responsibility for their safety."

To further enhance state security, Swift also created a Cabinet-level position of Director of Commonwealth Security to work with the federal Office of Homeland Security. She also invoked her emergency powers, proposing $26 million for public safety expenses, including the hiring and training of 150 new state troopers.


• Logan Airport

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