Three Bomb Sniffing Dogs in Philly Fail Bomb Sniffing Test
U.S. Representative Robert Brady of Pennsylvania sent a letter on Tuesday, January 5, 2010, to acting Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administrator Gale Rossides urging him to replace the three dogs who were assigned to inspect cargo at Philadelphia International Airport.
TSA spokesman Greg Soule said the agency could not comment on the status of its dogs. He said, however, that the rigorous nature of yearly certification tests means that some of the nation's 700 TSA-led dog teams deployed in air, marine and mass transportation systems may not pass and must go through a remedial program.
In the meantime, other layers of security are employed, Soule said. TSA-led teams concentrate on cargo screening while law enforcement-led teams handle all areas of the airport and spend part of their time supporting cargo inspection. Built-in redundancy means the dogs' lack of certification will not hurt air cargo screening, Soule said. Brady, however, said the agency should immediately replace the dogs while they are being recertified. Philadelphia International Airport officials said they had not been notified officially that any dog team had been decertified. Edward Turzanski, a senior fellow at the Center on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, and Homeland Security in the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, called the situation serious, especially considering that lack of communication between federal and local officials. "These dogs are not ornamental," said Turzanski, also a La Salle University professor. "They are there for a purpose. If the purpose is not being satisfied, that's a serious issue."
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Columbia, South Carolina, United States