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Screener qualifications, technology on air security agenda


The presence of explosive devices on a trans-Atlantic flight in late December sounded a new alarm on security within the airline industry. The qualifications of airline screeners and technology to detect bombs on travelers are garnering renewed attention.


Random X-rays of airline passengers' shoes are the first response of the aviation industry to the new threat that passengers could be carrying explosives on their bodies.

But other technology to detect explosives on passengers remains in the testing phase.

One controversial method is an electronic strip search called body scanning, which uses low-intensity X-rays to see through clothing. The U.S. Customs Service uses the procedure at major airports to search potential smugglers.

Another technology involves walk-through detectors that blow air onto passengers and can dislodge trace amounts of explosives, trapping them for a chemical analysis. Developers say it is 99 percent accurate. (Full story)

An author of the aviation security law that goes into effect in January said Sunday she would prefer airport security screeners have at least a high school education but said it is a "judgment call."

The U.S. Department of Transportation posted hiring requirements on its Web site December 19 for those seeking jobs as passenger and baggage screeners. Among the requirements in the posting was a high school or equivalency diploma or one year of relevant experience. (Full story)

Rudy Giuliani will leave office as mayor of New York on Monday. Michael Bloomberg will take office at midnight, following a morning swearing-in ceremony. (Full story)

  • Summary

  • Update

  • Key questions

  • Who's who

  • Victims

  • Impact


  •  Emergency information

  •  Partial list of victims

  •  Victims story archives

Attack on America
 CNN NewsPass Video 
Agencies reportedly got hijack tips in 1998
Intelligence intercept led to Buffalo suspects
Report cites warnings before 9/11
Timeline: Who Knew What and When?
Interactive: Terror Investigation
Terror Warnings System
Most wanted terrorists
What looks suspicious?
In-Depth: America Remembers
In-Depth: Terror on Tape
In-Depth: How prepared is your city?
On the Scene: Barbara Starr: Al Qaeda hunt expands?
On the Scene: Peter Bergen: Getting al Qaeda to talk


What effect will the delay in passing an economic stimulus bill have on the economy?

Should the federal government issue national security alerts in response to undisclosed, vague threats?

Are U.S. intelligence agencies better equipped to detect and prevent future homeland terrorist attacks?

What is the government doing to fortify homeland defense? Click here for more

What are tips to know in the wake of the attacks? Click here for more


George W. Bush: U.S. president Click here for more.

Laura Bush: First lady of the United States, she has become more visible since the terrorist attacks, making public appearances urging parents and teachers to help reassure children that everything is being done to try to keep them safe. Click here for more

Tom Ridge: Director of the U.S. Office of Homeland Security, a new Cabinet-level position Click here for more

Richard Clarke: Head of efforts to safeguard information systems for the Office of Homeland Security Click here for more

Wayne Downing: Retired Army general tapped as deputy national security adviser Click here for more

Joe Allbaugh:The chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Click here for more

Dr. David Satcher: Surgeon General of the United States

Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan: Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Click here for more

Rudy Giuliani: Mayor of New York Click here for more

Michael Bloomberg: Mayor-elect of New York

Anthony A. Williams: Mayor of Washington

Dr. Ivan Walks: Director of the Department of Health for the District of Columbia

Paul O'Neill: Treasury secretary

Norman Y. Mineta:Transportation secretary

Jane Garvey: FAA administrator


The latest figures provided by federal and local officials give the following numbers of people dead or missing from the September 11 attacks:

WORLD TRADE CENTER: According to New York City officials, the estimated number of dead -- including the 157 on the two hijacked planes -- is 2,937: 593 confirmed dead; 380 missing with no death certificates issued; and 1,964 death certificates issued for victims whose remains have not yet been identified. The initial death estimate was as many as 6,500 people but the number has shrunk for several reasons, including elimination of duplicate reports.

PENTAGON: 64 dead on hijacked plane; another 125 missing and presumed dead

PENNSYLVANIA: 44 confirmed dead on hijacked plane


The attacks of September 11 have sparked new debate about balancing the protection of U.S. citizens with the protection of the civil rights of those suspected of terrorism.

While the United States is proud of the freedoms and the legal rights guaranteed by the Constitution, authorities and many citizens have argued those people who seek to destroy America do not deserve such protections while they represent an ongoing threat to the country. Others argue that it is those very freedoms which the terrorists seek to curtail, and that to limit individual rights provides them with a victory.

While those arguments continue, so do the threats against U.S. interests. Security remains high at airports, certain industries and many government facilities.


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