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Transportation Security Administration Ups Security

Aired September 10, 2002 - 14:55   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Terror alert high -- that's what we're talking about and security at airports across the country is on a heightened state of alert today also. The Transportation Security Administration says it is responding to an increased threat level; that means passengers and bags will undergo even closer scrutiny than normal.
CNN's Patty Davis joins us now from Washington's Reagan National Airport with more from there -- Patty.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Transportation Department says all of its super-secret federal air marshals are on the job, working both domestic and international flights, because of this increased threat. Now, the Transportation Security Administration personnel are on heightened alert status, looking ever more closely at passengers and as well as their baggage.

The Coast Guard, we're also told, on heightened alert status because of the threat as well.

All airports are in close contact, closer than ever, with local and state law enforcement.

Even before this increased threat status came about, the Federal Aviation Administration, starting tomorrow through the 13th, is going to go ahead and put a ban in place for general aviation flights certain distance at a certain distance in Washington and also in New York City. For commercial flights in and out of Washington and New York airports tomorrow -- in Washington through the 13th and New York -- the 30-minute rule will be in effect. That is that passengers on commercial flights will not be able to get up out of their seats either thirty minutes after a plane takes off from any one of those airports in Washington or New York, as well as 30 minutes after that plane lands.

Combat air patrols have also been resumed over New York, Washington, D.C., as well, and some other cities. In fact, there was a situation down in Charlotte today. Some F-16s were scrambled to intercept a private plane that was registered in Egypt. The pilot cooperated, agreed to land in Charlotte. So those F-16s broke off. The flight had raised suspicion with U.S. air traffic control; it could not be determined whether that pilot had the correct paperwork, the correct waiver, to be able to fly in U.S. air space. It turns out that plane was being ferried from one city to another, and the FAA is still investigating that incident. But it does not appear to have been any of a threat -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Meanwhile, all air marshals are deployed also.

Our Patty Davis from Washington's Reagan Airport, with the latest from there on airport security. Thanks, Patty.

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