NEWS

Police Association: LAX Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack

By Laura Spadanuta

California state and local lawmakers are calling for a review of security at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) after a local police organization says the terminals are vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

The calls for a review are prompted by a recent letter from the Airport Police Officers Association, the Associated Press reports. According to the letter:

Reductions in the deployment of personnel and cuts to the budget for training are making the airport "more vulnerable to a terrorist attack than at any time since 9/11," wrote Marshall McClain, president of the police union.

The Los Angeles Times reports that airport officials "strong disagree" with the letter's claims:

"Those were the most outrageous and irresponsible comments he could make," said Alan Rothenberg, chairman of the Board of Airport Commissioners. "Frankly, they are just lies. Comments like this only encourage terrorists to believe that we are an easy target when, in fact, we are not."

Still, Assemblyman Ted Lieu and Los Angeles City Councilmen Bill Rosendahl and Dennis Zine are requesting a review of the claims because of LAX's designation as one of California's top terror targets.  The airport was the target of a bomb plot in December of 1999 (by an al-Qaeda-trained terrorist) and was the site of a gunman attack in 2002. 

The number of airport police has grown from 263 in 2002 to 447 today, according to the LA Times, and the budget has increased by about 3.5 percent over last year.

McClain, however, argues the airport has cut the workforce through attrition, claiming 30 positions have not been filled.

Rosendahl and Zine have said that they would like to resolve the conflicting security information as soon as possible.


♦ Photo by herotype0/Flickr

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