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Charlotte airport security is still insecure 

Charlotte Douglas International Airport should be on the top 10 list of any self-respecting terrorist looking to wreak mayhem.

A simple Google search shows our airport was ranked the 24th busiest in the world and the 10th busiest in the nation by passenger traffic according to Airports Council International. Why mess with the added security headache of JFK International in New York or Chicago O'Hare when for the price of a $50 pair of wire cutters, you can have unfettered access to the runways and landing strips of a hub like Charlotte's with pass-through flights to just about any place you'd want to blow something up?

You could even break in multiple times if the job requires it with little fear of being caught. Thieves cut through the airport fence to steal $13,000 worth of construction equipment last week, then came back days later, broke in again, and stole diesel fuel.

Airport security is so lax that airport higher-ups couldn't say for certain when the thieves broke in the first time and had to give a two-day span, plenty of time for terrorists to have strapped bombs to half a dozen air-bound items.

For all airport management knows, the thieves are still wandering around the tarmac with chainsaws. Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration gropes the groins of 8-year-old passengers with a thoroughness that would get a day care worker arrested and strip searches cancer survivors whose prosthetic breasts set off its nudie scanners.

Airport management brushed the latest break-ins off as insignificant breaches of the backside of the airport, far from the terminal. Problem is, satellite imagery shows that area is also right near runways where planes idle, land and take off. The planes are generally what the terrorists are trying to reach when they go through the terminal.

Incredibly, the thefts came just months after a security breach in which 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale stowed away in the wheel well of a jet he apparently boarded undetected on the runway. His body was found in a Boston neighborhood. The incident generated congressional hearings and was dubbed a "breakdown" in national security by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

You'd figure the airport would tighten up security after that. Instead, airport infiltrators have done everything but run hoses up to the idling planes and siphon off fuel.

There doesn't appear to be anyone willing, able or competent enough to address this situation. When asked during the congressional hearing whether airport security at Charlotte-Douglas International and across the nation had been improved after the Tisdale breach proved someone could simply walk up to an idling plane on a runway, Napolitano drew a blank. She was unable to answer simple questions about whether security changes had been made or were planned and promised to get back to members of Congress on that.

Then in February, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe assured the Charlotte City Council that his investigation had solved the mystery of how Tisdale boarded the plane. He just couldn't tell anyone about it because the police investigation report was classified by the TSA.

"In an interview with reporters after the presentation, Monroe said CMPD knew where and how Tisdale entered the airport, though he declined to elaborate," The Charlotte Observer reported on March 1.

Last week, Monroe backtracked and admitted to WSOCTV that he actually had no clue how Tisdale breached security and got on the plane.

More importantly, the Observer reported on March 17 that the report has not been classified: "the city's decision to withhold the entire report was made on its own. The Transportation Security Administration hasn't reviewed the report to determine what can or can't be made public.

Monroe and City Manager Curt Walton lied — I won't sugarcoat this the way others in the local media have — when they told the Council they couldn't see the investigation report because it was classified by the TSA.

The word is obviously out on the street that Charlotte's airport security is so lax that you can break in a couple of times a week if you like without fear of being caught. The thieves know it and Tisdale knew it. And city management apparently didn't want the public to know about it at all.

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