Airline security not keeping pace with terror threats: Experts

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Jessica Murphy, Senior Washington Correspondent

, Last Updated: 2:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The warning comes from people with in-depth insight into the impact terrorism can have - today's terrorists are more often homegrown, more radicalized, more nimble and more Internet-savvy than ever before.

On Tuesday, authors of the 9/11 commission report released their rebooted 2004 findings, a look at how the terror threat has evolved since that attack over a decade ago, and how the heavy U.S. security bureaucracy built up since to protect Americans is failing to keep pace.

"To understand, to be proactive and to be smart about the changes taking place in the world before we are attacked again is one of the most important lessons in our report," Commissioner Timothy Roemer said.

"We have ISIS taking over large swaths of territory in the Middle East, Syria is an incubator for terrorists training and hatred around the world. People are starting to come back from the training grounds to the United States. Al-Qaida now...pre-9/11 they were in a few countries, now they are in 16. This is a new, dangerous phase the United States of America is entering into."

Among their top cautions? Commercial airliners remain a trophy for terrorists, and while statistics indicate it's never been safer to fly and that air fatalities are on the decline, the system is struggling to keep up with global terror networks and their tactics.

While the commissioners praised improvements to the American security infrastructure put in place since they came out with their initial findings, they pointed to key recommendations, like robust exit-tracking systems, that have just gathered dust.

Whether it comes to targeting the thousands of commercial jetliners that take off and land in the U.S. every day carrying passengers from all over the world, or taking advantage of private aircraft to smuggle dangerous weapons or "malevolent individuals" into the U.S., the skies remain vulnerable.

"As 9/11 fades into the rear-view mirror, we must keep in mind that terrorists have repeatedly targeted aircraft. It would be a mistake to retreat from post-9/11 gains or lose focus on this critical area," the commissioners wrote.


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