Security Concerns Close Airports

The Sept. 11 terror attacks had a profound impact on the United States, and the effects are still rippling across American society in large and small ways. Here is a periodic wrap-up of some of them.

Temporary Shutdowns at JFK, 2 Other Airports

L O S A N G E L E S, Nov. 1 —

The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily closed one concourse at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport because security personnel were not properly responding to screening alarms that went off during passenger screening.

It also took action at airports in Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday and in Manchester, N.H., this morning for similar reasons.

The shutdown at JFK affected five American Airlines flights. The entire concourse was cleared and checked by bomb-sniffing dogs. Passengers were being rescreened and the concourse was reopened.

The closures come after Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta on Tuesday scolded the airlines for the job they are doing in screening passengers at airports, and as President Bush lobbied members of Congress to allow the federal government to take over responsibility for the screening, but contract out the work.

"An unacceptable number of deficiencies continue to occur," Mineta said. "The result is a growing lack of confidence and increasing criticism of the actions taken by the FAA."

Federal security screeners at airports have been used before, in Europe and Israel, but with limited success. Most of those countries use private security companies, under strict government oversight.


F-16s Escort Passenger Jet to Detroit

D E T R O I T, Nov. 1 — A Northwest Airlines passenger plane that took off from Washington was diverted to Detroit today under U.S. military jet escort after its pilot reported a security problem.

FBI spokesman Terry Booth said the incident was triggered by "a note threatening a bomb" that a passenger discovered in a magazine tucked into one of the Airbus A320's seats.

He would not disclose the exact contents of the note, but said police using bomb-sniffing dogs had searched the aircraft shortly after it touched down at Metro Airport at 10:16 a.m. EST. No sign of explosives were found.

Northwest spokeswoman Kathy Peach said Flight 191, with 73 passengers and five crew members, was en route from Washington's Reagan National Airport to Minneapolis when the note was found in an on-flight magazine.

The pilot told flight controllers he was diverting the flight to Detroit as a precautionary measure, Peach said.

The spokeswoman said the pilot was not aware that his call to controllers prompted the military to dispatch two F-16s to accompany the plane on its approach to Detroit.

"It's not something we requested," Peach said.

U.S. military jets have been dispatched as escorts to airliners reporting difficulties several times since the Sept. 11 hijack attacks in New York and Washington.


Sikhs Forced to Remove Turbans

Nov. 1 —

Followers of the Sikh faith say they have been unfairly singled out for elaborate security checks at airports.

And that includes sometimes being forced to remove their turbans, an integral part of their religious identity.

Some say racial profiling at airports has been part of a backlash against people of Middle Eastern appearance since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Sikhs are often mistaken for Muslims because they also wear turbans.

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