WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Statement of Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, on the website created to expose a massive security loophole in the printing of boarding passes for commercial passenger planes:

“On Friday I urged the Bush Administration to ‘apprehend’ and shut down whoever had created a new website that enabled persons without a plane ticket to easily fake a boarding pass and use it to clear security, gain access to the boarding area and potentially to the cabin of a passenger plane.  Subsequently I learned that the person responsible was a student at Indiana University, Christopher Soghoian, who intended no harm but, rather, intended to provide a public service by warning that this long-standing loophole could be easily exploited. The website has now apparently been shut down.

“Under the circumstances, any legal consequences for this student must take into account his intent to perform a public service, to publicize a problem as a way of getting it fixed.  He picked a lousy way of doing it, but he should not go to jail for his bad judgment.  Better yet, the Department of Homeland Security should put him to work showing public officials how easily our security can be compromised.

“It remains a fact that fake boarding passes can be easily created and the integration of terrorist watch lists with boarding security is still woefully inadequate.  The best outcome of Mr. Soghoian’s ill-considered demonstration would be for the Department of Homeland Security to close these loopholes immediately."

October 29, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein