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For the Record': A Major Hole in Airport Security

For the Record': A Major Hole in Airport Security

The investigation into the May 19 crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 is ongoing. Egypt's aviation minister said that the chance that a terror attack brought down the plane was “higher than the possibility of a technical failure."

If it was terrorism, it is the second attack on a commercial airline in the region in the last seven months. Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula in October, killing all 224 people on board. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

Both incidents have raised concerns about airline security around the world. Former CIA director James Woolsey told For the Record that he worries about the threat posed by airport workers, many of whom have access to planes and baggage but do not have to pass rigorous background checks.

"Pilots are very carefully vetted, six ways from Sunday," Woolsey said. "Baggage handlers and janitors in the hangers and so on are not. There have been cases of individuals coming from that kind of background going off into jihad in the Middle East."

Woolsey said that bringing down a large commercial jet would be relatively simple for a terrorist with the right access: "All it would take to take down an airliner along the lines of the Russian airliner that was destroyed and the Russians now admit was ISIS, is somebody to put something the size of say a hand grenade into the hold of a baggage compartment. It doesn't have to be big."

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