...Faster Lethal Response Eyed

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The next step for security officials and legislators may be to make it quicker and easier to shoot down offending aircraft. Under the current setup, the Customs Blackhawk helicopter normally dispatched to warn away errant aircraft doesn't have the authority to shoot at them or even fire warning shots. The Department of Homeland Security is now considering whether to deploy Coast Guard aircraft, which do have firing authority, in the ADIZ intercept role. "We raised the issue of the cops ... out there having the right of self defense under use of force policy," Homeland Security Acting Undersecretary Randy Beardsworth wrote in an internal May 17 e-mail about a meeting to discuss the incident that included Secretary Michael Chertoff and Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson. "As you can easily recognize, a potential option is to have the CG (Coast Guard) take this mission," Beardsworth said in the e-mail, which was obtained by The Associated Press. Beardsworth is a former Coast Guard officer.