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Mr. Mahoney. The local authorities, as soon as they determine that a person is an American, which is usually done by a passport or perhaps a friend or something like that will say that this is an American citizen, local authorities usually will notify an embassy or consulate immediately.
As soon as it is clear to us that the next of kin is not with this person, which is usually right away, we will undertake to try to find what the address of that person will be in the United States. Sometimes it is immediately available, sometimes it is not.
As soon as the address is known, a phone call is made from the embassy or consulate to the next of kin to tell them what has happened, and then immediately thereafter we follow up with a cable which is sent to the next of kin, giving a large amount of information that usually seems to be necessary—for example, whatever we know about the circumstances of the death, what arrangements are available in a particular country for the return of remains to the United States, and other services that we are prepared to perform.
Thereafter the post and, if necessary, the State Department offices here in Wahington try to keep in as close contact with the families as possible to see that their wishes are carried out.
Senator Ford. With 20/20 hindsight, are there any changes after Pan Am 103 that you would make or things you would have done different?
Mr. Mahoney. Absolutely, Senator.
Senator Ford. Name some.
Mr. Mahoney. Well, let me if I may take a minute to explain a little bit of what happened in the immediate aftermath of the bombing.
The State Department set up within about an hour a task force in its operations center, initially with 20 people, dedicated solely to answering incoming telephone calls and trying to get out information to families as we could find out who was on the airplane and who the next of kin might be.
Within about a half an hour of learning of the bombing, we made the initial request to Pan American Airlines for the manifest, because there was no way we could begin this task until we could find out who was on the plane. The airline indicated that they wished to take the lead role and to do the notifications.
Now, I think they had a couple of sincere motives for doing this. First of all, I believe and I am satisfied in looking at it afterwards that they wanted to act as a good corporate citizen and they felt that it was a responsibility to their passengers.
Secondly, they were extremely concerned about giving anyone a passenger list before they were satisfied that notifications had been made, because of the risk of a passenger list getting out to the media and relatives getting this news through the media rather than from some more direct contact.
But the net effect of this was that we did not get an initial manifest from the airline until about 10:40 p.m., some seven hours after we got the first word of the disaster. When we got that manifest, it contained only the last name and first initial of passengers.
We have a system by which we can check these names against computerized passport records and the passport records will usual
ly give us a next of kin then that when the person got his passport he designated, and we can then set out to get in contact with them.
But a passenger list that has only the last name and first initial in many cases is not useful, because it will yield, if it is a very common name, thousands of computer entries.
So we then began to press Pan Am for their next of kin contact list, whoever it was that they were able to be in contact with or might have identified as next of kin. We were unable to obtain that list until about two days after the initial news of the disaster.
I want to stress again that I do not ascribe any improper motives to Pan American in this, but it had the effect that Pan Am did make the initial contacts with the families and did establish contact with them and in the first instance, the families came to see Pan Am as their point of contact.
As we began to get information about next of kin and to call them, we found in every instance that they had been notified by Pan American, and we found that their reaction to us was in many cases to say: Well, why are you calling? We have already heard from Pan Am.
We were concerned that we were not only duplicative, but being intrusive in this situation, and that it seemed those things initially that needed to be done in terms of notification and other information had been done by the airline.
Now, in retrospect it is clear to us that we should have moved much more vigorously and assertively to take on this role.
We have met with Pan Am already and had very good discussions with them about a better exchange of information in the future, and we are going to be meeting with other American international carriers to try to seek the same sort of situation. And we hope to have a firm but voluntary agreement so that this situation will not recur in the future.
It seems clear now that the families want the government to take the lead in this, and we are certainly prepared to do so.
Senator Ford. I have taken long enough.
Senator McCain has been good enough to yield to Senator Exon in our line of seniority here, so he might get away for another hearing.
Senator Exon. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Senator McCain.
I have just one question. I think you can give a brief answer. Mr. McManaway, you testified to the fact that there were several employees of the Federal government that died on flight 103. Can you answer this question for me: Was there any cancellation of reservations on flight 103 by anyone associated with the Federal government as a result of the intelligence information that they had that was not given to the public?
Ambassador Mcmanaway. Senator, we have not been able to find any indication that there were any cancellations due to the posting of that bulletin.
Senator Exon. And you have checked that?
Ambassador Mcmanaway. We have checked.
Senator Exon. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Ford. Senator McCain.
Senator Mccain. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McManaway, you mentioned that it is your eleventh or twelfth or thirteenth appearance, and I certainly sympathize with you in that respect, and I am sure it must get rather tedious to go over the same information over and over again.
Ambassador Mcmanaway. I was not complaining, sir.
Senator Mccain. Obviously—no, I was expressing some sympathy. I know you were not complaining. But obviously a tragedy of this magnitude is one which requires a lot of information to be provided to the American people.
You mentioned that the American policy as regards to anti-terrorism is a proactive one, and I am not in disagreement with that. But let me ask a couple of questions, if I could.
Is it true that the explosive used in this tragedy is only manufactured in one country?
Ambassador Mcmanaway. The British authorities have never said definitively that it was SEMTEX. They have said it was a SEMTEX-type of explosive. If it was SEMTEX, it is only manufactured in Czechoslovakia.
Senator Mccain. So if we establish that it was SEMTEX, I wonder what we would contemplate concerning our actions towards the country that is the sole manufacturer of that explosive.
Ambassador Mcmanaway. We have had discussions, which I cannot go into in much detail here. The Czech government has claimed that there have been no exports of that explosive since 1982.
However, it has been found in large quantities provided by Libya to the IRA. There is quite a bit of it out there already.
It is interesting, however, that the government of Czechoslovakia has said that they would be interested in pursuing a convention that would call for the tagging of plastic explosives. We have been pursuing that question actively.
The Department of State held a meeting of explosives experts from allied countries in early March here, and then there was a meeting at ICAO to explore the same idea of an international convention calling for the placement of some chemical or other element in the plastic explosive during its manufacturing process that will make it detectable by existing technology.
Senator Mccain. I would suggest that most Americans would support a policy that, if this explosive was traced to Czechoslovakia, it was exported after 1982, that we should contemplate a direct response to the Czechoslovakian government.
My second question is, if this terrorist incident is identified, as Chairman Ford indicated is carried in the New York Times, as being, I believe it is called, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, should the United States not initiate actions to respond to that organization, if indeed we can clearly identify them as the perpetrators of this crime?
Ambassador Mcmanaway. I think I can assure you that we will, Senator.
Senator Mccain. Those actions would include response to individuals as well as the organization responsible? Ambassador Mcmanaway. Yes, sir. Senator Mccain. I hope so.
And I hope maybe we could look at some of the actions the Israelis have taken in response to acts of murder that have been committed on their citizens. I think that would be widely regarded as not an inappropriate response to the actions of wanton murderers and criminals.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Ford. Thank you, Ambassador, and we may have some questions for you in writing and hope that you will respond to those in a timely way. And we do thank you for coming this morning and thank you for your patience.
Ambassador Mcmanaway. Thank you, sir.
[The following information was subsequently received for the record:]
Question Of Senator Mccain And The Answer
Question. Much has been said about the importance of international agreements and cooperation in the area of civil aviation terrorism. Do you have a feel for what the timeframe may be in which we would see concrete results in this area?
Answer. The U.S. is committed to international cooperation as one of the most effective ways to deal with the threat posed by international terrorism.
The United States and the United Kingdom have initiated discussions before the International Civil Aviation Organization regarding the need to strengthen international aviation security standards. We expect that ICAO will approve in June improved aviation security standards. We hope that governments throughout the world will begin to implement these standards later this year.
We are also working with other governments to develop a common policy on introducing "taggants" into plastic explosives. This is a complex technical problem, but progress is being made. We remain hopeful that this summer will see major developments, particularly in terms of identifying substances that could effectively serve as taggants. It is far too early to determine if or when we will be able to negotiate an international protocol requiring the introduction of taggants. We are optimistic, however, particularly since many other governments share our belief that we must take additional steps to improve our ability to detect plastic explosives.
A third area where international progress is being made concerns the introduction of Thermal Neutron Analysis equipment at airports abroad. Secretary Skinner recently completed a highly successful trip to Europe in which his counterparts committed themselves to strengthening civil aviation security standards. Many governments also expressed their willingness to allow TNA equipment to be installed in international airports that serve U.S. carriers.
In the meantime, we are continuing our anti-terrorism training program, which includes courses in aviation security for officers from other countries.
International cooperation is essential if we are to deal with the threat posed to civil aviation by terrorists. We have made progress in this effort recently and we believe that major new advances are forthcoming.
Senator Ford. The next two members will be a panel: Mr. Richard F. Lally, Assistant Vice Intelligence for Security, ATA; and Michel J. Kutchins, Director of Aviation, San Antonio, Texas, representing the American Association of Airport Executives.
Mr. Lally, we will let you go first since you are the first one on the list here.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD F. LALLY, ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT FOR SECURITY, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
Mr. Lally. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am Richard Lally, Assistant Vice President for Security for the Air Transport Association of America. We have submitted a full statement to the committee and I would like to highlight certain portions of it.
Senator Ford. I might say, Mr. Lally, that your total statement will be included in the record, and we appreciate you giving us a briefing on it.
Mr. Lally. Thank you, sir.
First of all, I would like to say that United States flag carriers have since the summer of 1985 had extraordinary security measures in effect for their operations in the high risk areas of the world. That is primarily Europe and the Middle East. These measures were prescribed by FAA following a hijacking in June of 1985.
Following the bombing of Pan Am flight 103, those measures were made even more stringent, so that at the present time U.S. flag carriers serving the United States from Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East have extraordinary security measures in effect that we think far exceed the measures in effect by foreign air carriers. So that travel on U.S. flag carriers is as safe as it has ever been and is probably more secure than the operations of foreign air carriers.
With that, I would like to note that the FAA has not imposed the same stringent security requirements on foreign air carriers that serve the United States from the same high risk locations throughout the world as they have for U.S. carriers, and that is despite the fact that 50 percent of U.S. citizens who travel abroad travel on foreign air carriers.
The U.S. airlines feel that this is a serious gap in the Federal aviation regulatory requirements, and we have recommended to the FAA and to the DOT and to the executive branch in general that that gap be closed and that the same requirements be imposed on foreign air carriers.
With respect to the Pan Am 103 incident, we think of the series of activities involving international terrorism over recent years that was culminated in the tragic bombing of Pan Am flight 103 as presenting convincing evidence that the threat facing civil aviation from a security standpoint has changed.
Where previously it was a hijacking threat and our programs to defend against that threat were very successful, today the threat is terrorism in the form of sabotage against U.S. air carriers. And we think that the acts of international terrorism are political in nature and are aimed at influencing the behavior and the policy of governments, and that U.S. flag carriers are mainly attractive surrogate targets.
Certainly, the terrorists responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103 did not aim their sabotage at any passenger or crew member on that aircraft, or even at the airline itself.
Because of that, we feel that U.S. airlines need government help to combat and defend against the current threat. That government help we think should consist of the assignment of very talented FAA security experts at high risk areas throughout the world where U.S. flag carriers operate, to provide on-site continuing and direct assistance to those airlines in maintaining adequate security programs to protect all air travelers.
At the present time that FAA security staff, as mentioned by Secretary Skinner earlier today, is around the 700 level with the budget increases in process. We feel that, given that level of staff