washingtonpost.com  > Print Edition > Inside the A Section

WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

Tuesday, March 15, 2005; Page A07

Terrorists Could Exploit Security Flaws in Aviation

The nation's aviation system remains vulnerable to attacks by al Qaeda and other terrorists who may be targeting noncommercial aircraft and helicopters, according to a government report.

But officials said the report by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI concludes that commercial airlines also remain susceptible to attack, despite billions of dollars worth of security investments.

The confidential report, dated Feb. 25, reflects what officials have long said: that beefing up security in one sector would inevitably prompt terrorists to target other areas that might not be under the same level of scrutiny.

However, the report, drafts of which have been circulating since late last year, is the first to pull the intelligence together in a single package, officials said. It was distributed to state, local and private-sector officials who deal with counterterrorism concerns, said Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.

The report was first reported Sunday evening by the New York Times on its Web site.

More than $12 billion has been spent on explosive detectors, armored cockpit doors, screeners, air marshals and other aviation security systems since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Bioethics Leader's Role In Setting Agenda Questioned

A member of Congress yesterday requested that the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services investigate Leon R. Kass, chairman of President Bush's Council on Bioethics. At issue is whether Kass acted inappropriately by helping to lead an effort to craft a legislative "agenda" for Congress that would place new restrictions on embryo research and other areas of reproductive science.

In the letter, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) expressed concern that Kass may have misrepresented his private views as those of the council and that the council's resources may have been used in the effort. The effort brings "a cloud of suspicion" on the bioethics council, she wrote.

Kass said he has been very clear with people that his work for the new "bioethics agenda" for Congress -- still in its early stages -- is independent of his work for the council. "No council resources or council time was used," he said yesterday.

The inspector general typically takes two weeks to decide whether to take on a congressional request, a spokeswoman said.

Report Says School Leaders Are Not Sufficiently Trained

The principals and superintendents who run the nation's schools are unprepared for their jobs by education colleges, according to research by a leader in higher education.

Because they are responsible for hiring teachers, building community trust and overseeing academics, administrators have a huge influence over students, said Arthur Levine, president of Teachers College at Columbia University and the author of the report released yesterday.

Yet most graduate education programs that train these school administrators are deeply flawed, suffering from irrelevant curricula, low standards, weak faculty and little clinical instruction, he said.

-- Compiled from reports by staff writer Rick Weiss and news services


© 2005 The Washington Post Company