By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff
US Representative William R. Keating told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano today that he was concerned about whether potential holes in the perimeter security at the nation’s airports posed a “profound danger to the traveling public.”
“You look out the window at the tarmac and perimeter and frankly I don’t feel safe when taking a plane,” Keating said at a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Keating said he had become concerned about airport perimeter security after the Delvonte Tisdale case. Investigators say the North Carolina teenager, whose body was found on a street in Milton in November, had sneaked into Charlotte Douglas International Airport and stowed away aboard a jet headed for Boston. He then fell out of the plane’s wheel well as the plane approached Logan International Airport.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief told the Charlotte City Council earlier this week that investigators had “identified various locations where Mr. Tisdale may have breached airport security.” He recommended that the airport move to increase security by hiring more police, changing patrol strategies, improving electronic security, and repairing airport property.
Keating said he seemed to feel a “greater sense of urgency” than others about the need to secure airport perimeters. “I’m a bit dumbfounded that that sense of urgency hasn’t resulted in quicker action,” he said.
The freshman congressman who represents the South Shore and Cape Cod, a former Norfolk district attorney, told Napolitano that the committee would like her to tell them what authority or resources she would need to ensure that airports are safe.
“I see a major problem and we want to work with you as a committee,” he said.
“We will work with the committee on this,” she said.
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