Hutchinson Says Nation Now Safer

September 8, 2003 - Posted at: 3:58 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Former Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson says the nation is safer, two years after terrorists crashed jetliners into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers.

Hutchinson, who is now undersecretary for homeland security, points to a variety of actions the government has taken to thwart possible attacks.

Hutchinson says thousands of air marshals are now on passenger flights, and pilots are now behind hardened cockpit doors.  He says all passengers and bags are now screened before boarding.

Hutchinson says the agency has been able to identify vulnerabilities and make the country more secure.

He says law enforcement agencies now communicate better and that border and customs agents are now cross-trained.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.