U.S. Homeland Security Chief Tours Israeli Airport
By Tzippe Barrow CBN News Internet Producer – Jerusalem
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
JERUSALEM, Israel – U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Israel’s airport security methodology would not necessarily work in America because Israel has one major international airport compared with 450 in the U.S.
Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv is known as one of the safest if not the safest airport in the world.
Pini Schiff, former head of security at Ben-Gurion, told CBN News he didn’t agree with her basic premise.
“The number of airports doesn’t influence what kind of security system is in place,” Schiff said. “The level and quality of the operation applies to any airport. We’ve seen proof over the years that what we’re doing works,” he said.
Napolitano made her remarks following a tour of Ben-Gurion and comprehensive briefing by the chief of airport security on Tuesday.
The secretary said the U.S. uses a multi-layered, intelligence-based approach “that begins before the traveler arrives at the airport.” But Schiff said that didn’t factor into adopting a certain security system that could be used at any airport.
“Every country has intelligence information about its passengers,” Schiff said, “so that’s not a real factor in determining the security system.”
With regard to the controversial full-body pat downs, Napolitano said “people are adjusting to the new system,” and she didn’t anticipate discontinuing them “in the near future,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
U.S. passenger Barry Raymond of Orlando, Florida, who travels to Israel frequently to visit a son attending college, told Fox News that Israeli airport security is “far superior” to the U.S. “I’d love to see American security like this,” Raymond said.
While in Israel, Napolitano met with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several top ministers involved with public security, transportation and intelligence agencies.
Napolitano visited Ireland, Afghanistan and Qatar before her two-day visit in Israel. She leaves for Belgium on Wednesday.
The Jerusalem Post contributed to this story.
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