Behind the Airport Shutdowns

Airports are grinding to a halt so frequently these days that even the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily lost track. Portions of Los Angeles International Airport, the world's third busiest, were closed or evacuated four times in eight days this month. In one incident, a "suspicious" item detected by a screening machine turned out to be a food processor. A terminal in Connecticut was sealed last week when a pair of scissors was discovered in a trash can.

Why the frenzy? The Transportation Security Administration, the agency that took over airport security from the FAA on Feb. 17, has added teeth to...

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