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agreement on text has been reached with another 27 countries. We are working now on incorporating these changes into these agreements with more than 30 other States. Mr. Chairman, in closing let me say that preventing another tragedy such as the Pan Am 103 bombing is now and will remain a permanent preoccupation of the concerned agencies of the U.S. Government. With regard to those responsible for Pan Am 103, I am confident that we will eventually identify them and that we will then do everything in our power to bring them to justice. Thank you. Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador. I assume your associates do not have prepared statements but are here as resource for questioning. Thank you very, very much for that enlightening presentation and for the specific response to the question about the so-called “Helsinki threat.” That's a matter that continues to gnaw away at the conscious and at the troubled souls of the families who survive the tragedy of Pan Am 103, and I think that's certainly a matter that will continue to be explored in time ahead. The question that we all have in mind is that raised by your testimony on page 6 and throughout this incident, and that is, quoting your statement, Mr. Ambassador, “If we have a specific and credible threat to civil aviation security which cannot be countered, we will strongly recommend to the air carrier that it cancel the threatened flight.” Has that ever been done? Ambassador McMANAway. No, sir. One of the reasons— Mr. OBERSTAR. There have never been situations where there has been that kind of credible threat? Ambassador McMANAway. That's one of the problems, frankly, that I think some of us would have with some of the ideas that have been put forward which are totally aimed at the right objective, and that is making sure our people are protected. If you look at the 20-odd FAA bulletins that were issued last year many were not specific as to flight number or itinerary. It would be difficult to—for example, again coming back to the socalled threat and the call to the Helsinki embassy, Pan Am offers over 50 flights a week from Frankfurt to the United States. We don't get them—the reason we haven't done them is that we don't get them that specific. Mr. OBERSTAR. What constitutes a credible threat? I read your testimony at length last night. I've read the statement of the FAA analyzing the situation in Helsinki, the number of flights, the fact that there wasn't a specific reference. How do you evaluate, how does our intelligence system evaluate threats and determine from all available evidence whether one or another of them, whether one or another of those 639 issued against domestic U.S. airports and carriers is a credible threat? Ambassador MCMANAway. I think you start with the organization that's claiming to make the threat. We have people now in all of our agencies who have developed a considerable depth of knowledge of the various terrorist organizations operating in the world. That would be one criterion.
Another criterion would be the specificity of the threat, the language used. Does it meet the MO of that organization? Is it aimed at a specific flight, flight number? Is there an itinerary involved? If we had all of those things and could see no way to counter the threat—that is, round up the terrorists, for example—then we take steps to get the flight cancelled. Mr. OBERSTAR. Is preventive detention a step taken or recommended to be taken when a threat is made and a person or persons of one of the questionable organizations such as one of the Palestinian groups—and we know that they have terrorist activities, we know that they are equipped to plant these kinds of exotic or esoteric destructive devices—when one of them shows up at an airline counter and a warning is given, “Don’t board this person,” is preventive detention a recommended step or procedure? Ambassador McMANAway. Yes, sir, it would be from me. I have to look carefully at how much and how far I can go in an open session, but coming back to the threat in Germany and the arrests that were made, the 14 suspected members, that arrest was made because it was believed that they were about to do damage to a flight, not of a U.S. carrier but of another foreign carrier. Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you. Mr. Belger, a few years ago the Secretary of Transportation, following the procedures outlined in legislation Congress enacted, issued a warning for Americans not to use the Athens airport, literally shutting Athens down to Americans, to phrase it rather loosely. What were the criteria used, what was the extent of the security threat that prompted the Secretary to take that action? Mr. BELGER. I think, Mr. Chairman, that warning was a State Department advisory. Mr. OBERSTAR. It was a State Department— Mr. BELGER. I believe so. Mr. OBERSTAR. I’m mistaken. Mr. BELGER. I think that it was the result of an FAA assessment. Mr. OBERSTAR. It was certainly the result of an assessment that the airport was not secure. Mr. BELGER. That's Right. The FAA has, in the course of our foreign assessment programs, recommended that certain countries beef up their security programs. In one instance an advisory was made public as a result of our foreign airport assessments. Mr. OBERSTAR. Ambassador McManaway, could you comment further on the Athens situation? I think it's instructive for us. There were criteria used in that situation to determine that the airport was not secure and the Secretary issued the directive for Americans not to use that airport until the Secretary determined it was secure. The government of Greece responded. Athens airport security was beefed up, and after some period of time it was reopened to American use. Ambassador McMANAway. The notice to the American public not to use the airport at Athens followed on the heels of the hijacking of TWA 847 and the actions that were not taken by the government of Greece to help us with that. It originated there. It evidenced a lack of security at the airport, and there were other actions taken during the resolution of that incident which we didn't think indicated a very strong stance against terrorism at that time. Mr. OBERSTAR. Was it that there were not enough security screening devices in place, that the personnel at the airport were not trained sufficiently? Ambassador McMANAway. Probably a combination of those, Mr. Chairman. It was clearly loose security that allowed the hijacking to originate there. Mr. OBERSTAR. Now the FAA conducts security assessments of foreign airports. I believe 107 foreign airports have been assessed in the last year. That has involved a great deal of travel and reviewing of security conditions. I think if there is a pattern, one of them is that foreign governments do not consider perimeter security as seriously as we do in the United States. Many of those, or at least some of those governments have not responded, some have, to recommendations from the FAA that perimeter security be provided. Mr. Belger or Mr. Salazar, could you respond to the principal findings of your foreign airport assessments? Then I have a further question, and I'll conclude. Mr. BELGER. Thank you. If I could just respond in general and then Mr. Salazar could follow up with the specifics. Let me highlight our foreign airport assessment program. There are currently over 250 airports that meet the assessment requirements. Since 1985, we have conducted almost 800 assessments. The types of recommendations that we have made as a result of those assessments range from recommendations to deal with the screening system, to law enforcement support, to checked baggage control, and cargo procedures. Probably the majority of the recommendations have to do with local airport security programs and controls on access. Mr. OBERSTAR. Excuse me, I was distracted for a moment on an administrative matter. Would you repeat just the last sentence? Mr. BELGER. Certainly. As I was saying, the recommendations that we have made to the foreign countries as a result of the foreign airport assessments run a broad range from recommendations to improve the screening, to cargo procedures, to law enforcement support. Probably the two areas in which we have made the most recommendations would be the existence of or the quality of airport security programs and access controls—in other words, controls to insure that only authorized people have access to secured areas of an airport. Mr. OBERSTAR. Have you found in the process of those assessments that foreign governments are installing appropriate technology such as that the United States is developing to detect these increasingly sophisticated and esoteric types of explosive devices? Mr. BELGER. Well, explosive detection technology, frankly, is just now emerging. I'm relatively confident that the FAA and the Federal Government of the United States are in the forefront in terms of implementing that type of technology. I am not aware of any other country that is to the point that we are, where we are about to have an operational explosive detection system.
If I could further expand on that. Although, I clearly believe the United States is way out in front, we do participate with several other countries both on a bilateral and on a multinational basis to exchange information, to insure that we are providing to the appropriate people the questions, the answers, the technology that we have developed. I think we have learned a great deal as a part of our participation in those agreements. Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you. I'll have further questions about the assessments and how you work with foreign governments and the problem of access to airports, but my time has expired. I call on the gentleman from New York, Mr. Molinari. Mr. MoLINARI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have to leave in a little bit, but I do have a couple of questions I would like to ask. In the testimony that was provided to the subcommittee by the Air Transport Association, they have strongly suggested that more of FAA security resources and personnel be dedicated to high risk airports overseas. What is your response to that recommendation? Mr. BELGER. I'm very much aware of that recommendation. I am sensitive to it. We are in the process of increasing our staffing this year by about 50-some positions. Our fiscal year 1990 budget request includes a request for an additional 120 positions in our security program. We obviously are pleased by that. We are taking a very, very hard look at the proper locations for these additional individuals. I think we should also keep in mind, though, that we have the flexibility and, in fact, exercise it whenever we need to, to use our workforce wherever the priorities might be. In the past several months we have conducted a large number of special inspections in Europe and the Middle East. We have used our inspectors from the United States to complement the small staff that we have in Europe. We clearly need to make the decision that our resources are in the proper location to do the best good. Mr. MoLINARI. I'm not sure whether that means that you agree with the ATA's recommendations or agree in part. Let me ask it in another fashion: is there some portion of their recommendation that you do not agree with? Mr. BELGER. Certainly not in terms of intent. We would have to talk about the degree of how many people obviously, but I certainly agree with the philosophy, the logic of having our security inspectors in the locations where they can be of the most value. Mr. MoLINARI. Under the Foreign Airport Security Act of 1985, DOT must notify the public if deficiencies are found in the security at a foreign airport and not corrected in 90 days. How many public notices has DOT issued under this law? Mr. BELGER. One. That process has proceeded to that point only Once. Mr. MOLINARI. Which case was that? Mr. BELGER. That was in the Philippines. Mr. MoLINARI. Can we—go ahead, I'm sorry. Mr. BELGER. When the public notice was made, in a matter of a very short period of time the corrections were made. We were satisfied that security procedures were altered—corrected I should say—and the advisory was lifted.
Mr. MoLINARI. Do we assume from that that all foreign airports are safe and secure for our travelers? Mr. BELGER. There are no advisories in existence now. I think we could assume that in the course of our assessments we will continue to apply the international standards. If an airport's security procedures do not measure up to those standards, we have no hesitancy in implementing the process. Mr. MoLINARI. I have one further question at this point. Could somebody bring this down to the table? Mr. BELGER. I have a copy of that. Mr. MolinaRI. You have a copy? Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir. Mr. MoLINARI. All right. I'm a little confused in looking at this chart which is labeled “Federal Aviation Administration Security Bulletin Process.” This details the various steps for sources of threat information and then the analysis of and processing of that information, and then finally a determination along the line as to whether it's considered—on the chart we say “travel advisory.” Wherein would you have high level risk inserted in that chart if you found that to be the case? Mr. BELGER. If I could just go through the process briefly in terms of how the FAA receives and assesses information, and I will then answer your question specifically. Mr. MoLINARI. Okay. Mr. BELGER. I would like to do this with the clear commitment from the FAA and from the Secretary of Transportation that there still are a lot of remaining questions, as I said earlier, about the collection, analysis, and dissemination of this type of information. That's precisely why the Secretary has his own personal team looking at it. Let me just go through the process and then answer your question without getting into a lot more detail. The FAA is not an intelligence-gathering organization. We receive the information from various other sources. We do have the capability, very professional capability, to assess and analyze that information as it pertains to aviation. We would obviously look at the intentions and the capabilities of certain groups who might be brought to our attention. We would then work with the other Government organizations, to assess the credibility of that information. It is our underlying, paramount concern in the FAA to provide to the airlines as much information as we possibly can, to give them all of the tools, all of the information, to allow them to do the best job possible in detecting these types of sophisticated devices that we're talking about. When we receive information which can be disseminated to the airlines, we have a very defined process in which we do that. It goes to the U.S. airlines, it goes to the Air Transport Association, to other Government agencies, and also to the State Department, as the ambassador explained earlier, for further transmission to the embassies and then coordination with the foreign host governments. Whether it is this type of threat information which we receive from various sources or whether it is the over 600 bomb threats