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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Do Israelis Have Something To Teach Americans About Security?

A still image from NBC LA shows a person being loaded into an ambulance at Los Angeles International Airport. (Joseph Weisenthal/Twitter)

A still image from NBC LA shows a person being loaded into an ambulance at Los Angeles International Airport. (Joseph Weisenthal/Twitter)

After the deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport last week, the TSA union is asking the government to allow its members to carry firearms and even make arrests. But is arming 50,000 airport screeners a good idea?

Transportation security expert Rafi Ron, who used to be head of security for Israel’s main international airport, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the challenge of securing large public places.

Interview Highlights: Rafi Ron

On having armed guards in public places, as is the practice in Israel

“We should not jump into this extreme measure. That law in Israel requires every coffee shop, every little place that is open, to keep a guard at the entrance. That is a very heavy burden.”

“I’m not sure at this point in time the level of threat in the U.S. justifies to go to that extreme. But at the same time, I do believe we need to increase the presence of security in our malls and our larger shopping facilities to the point where the quick response will minimize the level of damage such a shooter can carry out.”

On whether to arm TSA agents

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. We already have a problem of too many agencies that don’t talk to each other at the airport; some of them are armed. The level of communication and coordination between the different agencies is not one we should be proud of.”

“There’s one agency that is in charge for the physical security of the airport — that is the police department. They should be trained for these scenarios, and they should be present in the critical locations.”

“Right now, in most facilities in the U.S. and specifically in airports, we don’t have enough law enforcement people. And those law enforcement people are not always at the right place, and thirdly, they aren’t always trained to identify suspicious behavior to the point that they can intervene and hopefully prevent a major attack.”

Guest


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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