The EgyptAir disaster raises questions and concerns at a time when U.S. air travelers already experience record lines and delays passing through security.Some lawmakers are pointing a finger at Islamic State for last week's crash.
“We know they successfully took down an airliner flying from Egypt to Russia.We know that they are working on a bomb that's undetectable.”
If lawmakers are assuming a heightened terrorist threat until evidence proves otherwise, pressure will mount on federal airport screeners, widely reported to be understaffed and overburdened even on the best of days.
“One of the difficulties we've had is with a great deal of turnover at TSA, and there are certainly management problems at TSA.”
“We have retrained our entire workforce, corrected procedures, improved our technology and analyzed systemic issues,”
The Transportation Security Administration insists it has fixed gaps and vulnerabilities in screening identity last year.
“I am also confident that TSA is able to deter, detect and disrupt threats to our aviation system.”
Security may be improved, but tempers have been flaring at U.S. airports with some travelers waiting hours to board their flights.
“On the one hand, we are looking for 100 percent security.On the other hand, we are looking for complete efficiency so that lines don't back up.It's an enormously complex and difficult task.”
As America enters the busy summer travel season, the White House has a simple message-safety comes first.
“Obviously, our first priority is making sure that people are safe.TSA must continue its rigorous security screenings and we're not going to lower our standards for the sake of convenience.”
Once pinpointed, the cause of the EgyptAir disaster may or may not heighten concerns about the ability of terrorists to down airliners.But lawmakers aren't waiting and will be pressing for answers at hearings this week.