DIA, Other U.S. Airports Add Security

July 3, 2007
Airports across the nation implementing elevated security procedures

Airports across the nation began implementing elevated security procedures Sunday in response to last week's terrorism scares in Great Britain.

Arriving travelers could face random vehicle searches, according to a news release from the Transportation Security Administration. The administration said there also may be an increase in security personnel at the airports and in patrols by dog teams.

In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the elevated security is out of "an abundance of caution" during the Independence Day week.

"I have seen no specific, credible information suggesting that this latest incident is connected to a threat to the homeland," Chertoff said.

Denver International Airport spokesman Chuck Cannon said airport officials put additional security measures in place Sunday, but he declined to specify. A Denver Police Department spokesman declined to elaborate on the extra measures as well.

"I don't want to say, 'We're doing this,' and then the bad guys will go say, 'Well, we'll do something else,' " Cannon said.

"You're not going to have to allow an extra hour to get to the airport," he added. "A few extra minutes would be fine."

At the Colorado Springs Airport, police will conduct random vehicle searches, Assistant Director of Aviation John McGinley said in a statement. The searches will take about two or three minutes, with electronic signs guiding drivers through the process.

"The procedures have been designed to minimize impact on the public," McGinley said.

The heightened security comes in response to two terrorism scares in Great Britain.

On Saturday, Scottish police arrested two men after they rammed a Jeep Cherokee into the front doors of Glasgow Airport's main terminal. The vehicle then burst into flames. The previous day, police found two cars packed with explosives and nails in central London.

American airports have been at an "orange" threat level, the second-highest, since last August, when British police said they stopped a plot to blow up a U.S.-bound plane. That plot led authorities to limit the amount of liquids, aerosols and gels that passengers could take in carry-on luggage.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

Staff writer John Ingold can be reached at 720-929-0898 or jingold@denverpost.com

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