LAX federal security director Larry Fetters unexpectedly retired recently, leaving the world's sixth-busiest airport without U.S. counter-terrorism leadership at a time when authorities warn that Al-Qaeda will attempt a domestic strike.
Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, said the move couldn't have come at a worse time. "His unexpected retirement creates a leadership void at the nation's busiest origin and destination airport at a time when the TSA has not had a permanent chief in Washington for more than one year," McClain said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.
It's not clear why Fetters decided to retire. In December CBS 2 reported that a number of LAX security workers were fired after they were discovered partying and using drugs after-hours, on their own time. The discovery was made via videotape that was found in a security worker's home, which was searched because the worker was being investigated for making fake LAX parking passes.
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Fetters was confronted by CBS 2 reporter David Goldstein and appeared ruffled and defensive, saying that the drug-using workers would have eventually been caught via random tests.
The law enforcer also once worked as a deputy chief at the Los Angeles Police Department, and was the deputy director of security at the Olympics in Atlanta. "All of us involved in law enforcement and security at LAX shall miss him," McClain said.
Just last month LAX police assistant chief Erroll Southers withdrew his nomination to head the U.S. Transportation Security Administration after two-decade-old dirt was dug up (he once improperly looked into police files on his ex-wife's boyfriend) and flaunted by Republican opponents.
LAX was the target of a would-be bomber who was caught at the Canadian border in late 1999. If the repeated attacks on the World Trade Center serve as an example, the airport will likely remain a target for terrorists.