Security measures questioned after 9-11

Security changes enhanced, analyzed

As the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks arrives, organizations across the nation have spoken out against the security regulations that have been instituted in reaction to the attacks.

Some feel that the changes have been minor, however, and limited to areas such as the airport and federal offices.

The immediate reactions to the attacks were closures of airports and other places around D.C. The Metropolitan Police Department kept many streets in D.C. closed for up to a week after the attack in order to maintain the peace. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was closed for 23 days after the attack, according to spokesperson Geri Hamilton.

AU sophomore Abbey Dougherty said that she has only noticed additional security in airports.

"Every time I go through they make me take off my jewelry and flip flops," Dougherty said. "I found it weird that they had to check my flip flops though."

Effects of the attacks soon reached airports nationwide when Congress created the Transportation Safety Administration, which President George W. Bush signed into law on Nov. 19, 2001, just two months after the attack. The TSA took responsibility for the airport security nationwide at that point, according to TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez.

"[TSA] has taken on 50,000 screeners screening 100 percent of passengers and 100 percent of bags," Melendez said. "We have reinstituted the Air Marshal program, granted funds for bus companies located in 25 states ... strengthened our shipping plan with $170,000 for port security."

Since the TSA's official creation in January 2002, the administration has grown exponentially, Melendez said.

"We have grown from 13 employees at the beginning of January 2002 to 50,000 now, and in the process spent $10 billion," Melendez said.

Transportation concerns became the primary issue following the attacks, yet Metrorail and Metrobus, the public transportation services of D.C., have made few changes.

"There might be some additional policing, but there were no new restrictions," said Lisa Farbstein, spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority. "We are a pretty open system."

However, WMATA did respond by printing pamphlets instructing riders on security concerns. The pamphlets note that riders should be aware of "suspicious people or unusual activity" as well as "unattended bags or packages" and "smoke or odd smells."

In a recent show of lightened security measures, the White House has reopened tours to the general public this month. Starting Sept. 16, tours will be offered Tuesdays through Saturdays but groups must gain approval through their respective member of Congress, according to the Washington Post.

However, as security seems to lighten there, the TSA has announced new restrictions during the security screening. According to a release, all passengers from Reagan National Airport must show a boarding pass and photo identification at the screening checkpoints. This new procedure was instituted July 15 and has met with few complaints, according to Melendez.

As many commemorate the event today, the question of increased security since the Sept. 11 attacks remains.

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