U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was in New Jersey today to talk about the expansion of the, “If See Something, Say Something” campaign which design need to help ensure citizens know how to identify and report indicators of terrorism and other threats. The press conference at the Trenton train station turned into a debate over the new scanning and pat-down procedures at U.S. airports.
“There is a continued threat against aviation involving those who seek to smuggle powders and gels that can be used as explosives on airplanes,” says Napolitano. “The new technology is designed to help us identify those individuals. This is after many layers of security. It’s not the only layer of security in the air environment that we have.”
Napolitano says she has undergone a pat-down and explains, “It’s only a small percentage of passengers who get patted down, nonetheless I think we all understand the concerns that Americans have about. It’s something new.”
The procedures are evolving says Napolitano and they are likely to be altered, but adds, “Will they (passengers) see a difference in the short term? I can’t guarantee that and the reason is because our #1 goal is to make sure that the passengers’ security is protected.”
The press conference was repeatedly interrupted as depot announcements were aired over the loud speakers at a crazy-high volume forcing Napolitano and U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg to stop and wait until the announcements were over. This led one columnist to say, “This press conference was as well planned out as the pat downs and scanners.”
After the press conference another reporter who shall remain unnamed made an interesting observation. He (or she) said it’s great that we have to go through hoops to get on a plane but if we want to stand five feet away from the Homeland Security Secretary from the most powerful country in the world all we have to do is flash our press credentials.