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November 13, 2001
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Attendees resigned to long security checks

by Benny Evangelista, San Francisco Chronicle

Las Vegas -- After waiting a half-hour, Rudy Vogel was irritated that he was still stuck in line outside the giant Comdex computer show.

But like most of the 200 people behind him, Vogel understood the need for metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and the latest air tragedy.

"This is terrible," said Vogel, an e-commerce consultant from Massachusetts.

"But with the plane going down this morning, you've got to do what you got to do."

Security was tight outside the Las Vegas Convention Center, with all attendees required to pass through metal detectors while police with bomb- sniffing dogs roamed the lines. Show organizers said there were no incidents reported.

The line for exhibitors was particularly long and slow because most carried boxes or bags filled with items for their booths, and each parcel was subject to inspection. A no-nonsense Las Vegas Police K-9 officer barked orders for everybody to have all bags opened, ready for sniffing by his tail-wagging partner.

One man, who declined to give his name, was late delivering 100 T-shirts for one booth. "I've tried four different lines and I've been out here for an hour," he said.

But Kelly Hendricks, president of an Indiana public relations firm, said waiting was a minor problem overall.

"It's comforting," he said as he stood at the back of the line. "I don't mind the wait."

Ofer Tennenbaum, general manager of Electronics for Imaging Inc. of Foster City, said the tightened security was nothing compared to what he experienced in his native Israel, where each piece of airline baggage is scrutinized.

Here, "flying is like going to Vegas," Tennenbaum said, referring to traveling to this desert gambling capital.

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