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Air Marshals Just One Example of Tighter Security

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security ordered that armed air marshals be stationed on some international flights. It is to protect those on board commercial and cargo airlines. It won't change much at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, but security remains higher than normal.

As a higher terror alert level continues this holiday week, travelers heading through the Buffalo Niagara International Airport will notice stepped up security. David Bassett is federal security director with the Transportation Safety Administration for Buffalo. Bassett says most noticeable are random vehicle searches, an increase in law enforcement and extra K-9 patrols. He asks travelers to be patient.

"The procedures that are in place are currently there to make sure everyone arrives safely and on-time," Bassett said. "At the same time, this is one of the highest travel seasons of the year. Try to get to the airport early, at least 90 minutes, if not earlier. Once you get to your connecting destination, you may have to be patient with connecting flights."

Bassett says he believes there will probably always be armed federal air marshals on some international flights because transportation officials will continue to add layers of security to ensure airline safety.

"What we are really seeing here is a dynamic and fluid rather than a static approach to airline and airport passenger security," Bassett said. "So as the threat increases, we respond according, and you will see potentially more people in the air. Air marshals flying and people looking out for passengers interests."

Bassett says for passengers and those in the airlines industry, it really comes down to a new mind set -- a shift in thinking -- when responding to world wide terrorist threats.