Former Israeli airline security chief calls for tighter measures following FLL shooting

(WSVN) - The former security chief of an airline considered one of the safest in the world blamed loose security for the shooting that killed five at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Friday.

Marvin Badler served as chief of security for Israeli airline El Al. He told 7News that while he’s disturbed by what happened Friday, he’s also not surprised.

“This should have never happened,” Badler said. “The first thing that came to my mind is the United States is reactive, not proactive.”

Badler believes that American airlines do not take enough security precautions. At El Al, passengers sometimes face dozens of questions by screeners before boarding.

Badler told 7News that he doubts whether Esteban Santiago, who allegedly carried out the shooting, would’ve been allowed to board an El Al flight.

“El Al is a totally different ball game,” Badler said. “It is their mindset that is totally different. They do things the way it should be done, not the way people want it to be done, and that’s the big difference.”

Asked whether the airline is afraid of offending passengers, Badler said, “Definitely not. A life is more important than offending someone.”

At El Al, Badler said, Santiago’s gun would have never been allowed in checked luggage. Instead, Badler said, it would be considered cargo and checked in outside the terminal, never making it inside baggage claim.

“When they get to where they are going, they go to another cargo area or a specific designated spot where there are no large amounts of people,” Badler said, “and get their guns and get their possessions. To me it is very simple.”

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said the county will consider new security procedures at FLL following the conclusion of the investigation.

“After things are settled this is time to go back and reflect and review and see where we could do something different,” Sharief said, “if there was something we could do differently.”

But, Badler said, security that works is very expensive.

“I’ve been in this field for 30 years, and it comes down to one thing: economics,” he said. “Are they willing to spend the money?”

The measures could also face criticism for being inconvenient and intrusive.

“The United States is too politically correct,” Badler said. “We’re afraid of ruffling up someone’s feathers. We have to stop that. People are dying.”

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