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Democrats Raise Concerns About Soft Targets at Airports

Istanbul attack prompts calls for more security ahead of political conventions

Multiple agencies will coordinate on aviation security for the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Multiple agencies will coordinate on aviation security for the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The top Democrat on the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee was in Philadelphia to see how the city’s airport is preparing for the Democratic National Convention.  

“Aviation security is a shared responsibility and I’m encouraged to see the cooperation between federal agencies, law enforcement officials and the airlines here in Philadelphia to ensure that passengers can get where they’re going safely and efficiently,” Delaware Sen. Thomas R. Carper said.  

“With all eyes on this city for one of the biggest events of the summer, I am confident Philadelphia will be ready for the surge in visitors with these stakeholders working together,” he said.  

Philadelphia International, which was long a hub for US Airways and then became an American Airlines hub following the merger of the two carriers, is also conveniently close to Carper’s home state of Delaware.  

Carper is among the 11 Senate Democrats who signed a letter last week to the leadership of the House and Senate transportation committees seeking language in an upcoming Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill designed to strengthen security at parts of airports that are considered “soft” because they’re outside the security perimeter.  

On Friday in Philadelphia, Carper referred to the request from the group of senators, which was led by Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.  

“The tragic attacks at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport earlier this week are a reminder that there are still very real security threats to our large transportation hubs, like airports and train stations. I have, along with my Democratic colleagues in the Senate, introduced an amendment to the bill to reauthorize the [FAA] that will strengthen security in non-secure areas of airports, like at check-ins and baggage claim” Carper said in a statement Friday.  

Contact Lesniewski at NielsLesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski.

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