Rep. Michael McCaul: TSA should coordinate better with local police

Nov. 3, 2013 at 2:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- The chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security said Sunday federal and local authorities need to coordinate better to prevent airport shootings.

In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said he spoke Saturday with Transportation Security Administration Director John Pistole about a review of policies at U.S. airports in the wake of the shooting Friday at Los Angeles International Airport that left a TSA guard dead.

McCaul said TSA guards aren't armed at security checkpoints, only roving local police are.

"I want to work with the director of TSA to look at how are we coordinating with the locals at the airports of security, police officers, to see if there's something we can do better or differently," McCaul said.

Paul Ciancia, 23, allegedly entered the gate area of the airport by going through an exit at the security point, walking past a guard.

"I think it's important that we have the local law enforcement really at different points at the airport to protect not only the perimeter but also things that could happen through security check point," McCaul said.

McCaul said he and Pistole talked about possibly stepping up the efforts of so-called Viper teams, which are run by the TSA to detect possible acts of violence like Friday's incident.

"I think that ... better coordination with local law enforcement should help tremendously, however, having said that, it's very difficult to stop these types of attacks," he said.

"It's almost like an open shopping mall. So, it's very difficult to protect, but these Viper teams, I think, with local law enforcement can't provide that needed security."

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