A security boss at the US airport where hijackers boarded a jet which slammed into the Pentagon, has warned: "It could happen again tomorrow."

Steve Wragg has been interviewed by the FBI and CIA following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington which killed thousands of people.

Mr Wragg, 36, from Worthing, is in charge of about 800 workers at Dulles airport and Ronald Reagan airport, both in Washington.

His firm operates security for United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and British Midland.

A fortnight after the outrages, he fears the Americans have introduced knee-jerk precautions to deter hijackers, but are still not taking security seriously enough.

Terrorists, believed to have been armed with box-cutters and small knives, boarded the American Airlines jet which took off from Dulles and crashed into the Pentagon.

Mr Wragg, a former pupil at Tarring High School, has worked in airport security all over the world, including Frankfurt, Pakistan and the Far East.

He moved to America four years ago and was astonished at how lax security procedures were in the States compared to other countries.

He said prior to the attacks passengers were allowed to board jets with knives provided the blades did not exceed four inches.

People could also put luggage on planes even if they were not travelling themselves.

After witnessing the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, Mr Wragg said: "I was shocked, but not surprised that it happened.

"Quite frankly, security out here is just a different concept to what happens in other countries. Staff are minimum-wage employees with limited English.

"Ninety-five per cent are non-American immigrants.

"A lot of them are asylum seekers."

Mr Wragg said he had been interviewed by a series of US government agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, whose investigators were genuinely shocked when he outlined how poor security was.

He added: "I have worked in many different countries and when I came here it was a totally different deal. It's all money orientated. Security was last on the agenda for Americans. They didn't really have an understanding of it.

"Airline terrorism cannot be eradicated completely, because we are dealing with highly-trained and intelligent people who will stop at nothing, but the threat can be greatly reduced."

Mr Wragg favours the passenger profile system. Passengers are interviewed by security staff prior to boarding an aircraft and any with question marks about their background were banned from flying.

Mr Wragg was on holiday at the time of the attacks, having flown back to his Washington home the day before following his brother Chris's wedding in Boston, which was attended by their parents, Bob and Anne, who live in Chilgrove Close, Goring.

Mr Wragg, who is married to an American and has two children, watched the attack on the World Trade Centre live on television. He said: "I couldn't take it in at first. I wasn't sure whether it was real or not. Then my phone started ringing and it suddenly sank in."