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ployees were warned of the terrorist bomb flights directed at Pan Am flights originating in Frankfurt with U.S. destinations in the two to three week period before Christmas.
We have now seen another example of how this policy of secrecy and withholding credible terrorist threats from the flying public works in practice. During the week of March 19th, the FAA issued a high level alert that warned of a possible hijacking of an American airliner in Europe during the Easter rush.
The substance of this warning was broadcast as a travel advisory on U.S. Armed Forces television in Europe, then leaked to the British tabloid press. The only reaction of our government was to threaten to punish the leaker to the British press.
Incredible as it seems, the Administration's policy of not disclosing terrorist threats, even high level credible warnings, has only hardened since the Pan Am 103 bombing. The rationale has shifted from "we cannot tell you because there are so many it would stop all air traffic" to "we cannot tell you because it would dry up intelligence sources and encourage more threats."
Following this line of reasoning, the Food and Drug Administration should not have warned the public of sabotage of the drug supply in the Tylenol poisoning case, nor pulled fruit off the shelves in the recent South American fruit poisoning case.
Rather, following the FAA policy, the FAA should have alerted the grocery and drug store chains' security firms, warning them not to tell the public and leaving it up to each store as to how to react to the threatened sabotage.
There is no evidence that the airlines or the FAA have cited which shows that notifying those at risk of credible bomb threats would "dry up" intelligence sources. The sources of warnings in the Pan Am 103 case were the German police and a resident of Helsinki that freely identified himself.
More recently, the source of the March FAA warning of the possible hijacking of an American plane in Europe was reported in the press to be the PLO and the Jordanian government. Does the Secretary of Transportation assert that such sources of information would dry up if people at risk were warned?
In any case, no responsible party, certainly not the relatives of Pan Am 103 victims, has called for the publication of sensitive details of terrorist threats or warnings.
The canard that notifying airline passengers of credible threats would result in a vast increase in such threats is also without a basis in fact. According to the FAA's own statistics, the number of threats to airlines has been relatively constant at 400 to 500 per year since 1983, with less than 30 of these being so-called "high level threats." And that, Mr. Chairman, is out of six million flights a year.
The only exception to this is the 1985-86 period, when there was approximately a 30 percent increase. Mr. Chairman, you may recall this was the period of the Rome airport massacre, the TWA Athens Airport hijacking, the Achille Lauro hijacking, the Berlin nightclub bombing, and frequent public threats against Americans by Middle East terrorist leaders. The record is clear that threats increased slightly in response to actual terrorist acts, but not to empty threats.
. The real reason for government and airline resistance to notification of those at risk seems to be fear of lost revenue and the exposure of the ineffective and inept security measures currently in force on international airlines.
The new measures ordered by the FAA since the Pan Am 103 bombing, which in essence consist of X-ray or hand search all baggage, are completely ineffective, because current X-ray equipment cannot detect plastic explosives and hand searching is not being conducted unless there is other cause to suspect.
No respected security expert inside or outside the government can be found who will testify that we can have confidence in the current security procedure preventing another Pan Am 103 tragedy. And Mr. Chairman, I did not hear anything here this morning that contradicts that statement. This is why IBM and other corporations have warned their employees not to fly American carriers in Europe.
Stronger measures, such as hand searching of baggage on international flights and banning of certain electronic devices, have not been adopted, although urged by security experts. Installation of bomb detection equipment is months to years away.
In this blatant failure to protect situation, how can Americans also countenance a "refusal to warn" policy? The purpose of intelligence is to inform those at risk, as well as to help the police catch * terrorists. The purpose of security is to prevent and deter. Intelligence that can only be shared with other intelligence officers is of little value.
w A moral and sensible notification policy will enhance security, by first deterring terrorists who realize their plans are known; and secondly, by ensuring that security forces are taking precautions seriously in the face of high level threats. _v I might add parenthetically, Mr. Chairman, that the notification ""^policy we are supporting has been publicly endorsed by Lieutenant Colonel Corbett, former NATO counterintelligence security chief, and privately by a former FAA director of security, and also by a former security chief of El Al Airlines.
Furthermore, Senator D'Amato has introduced legislation to implement part of this notification policy and that legislation has been endorsed by the pilots and flight attendants unions.
In closing, I would just like to reiterate that the airline security system was and is broken. Clearly it needs to be fixed before a repetition of the Pan Am 103 occurs in the months ahead.
However, the policies and practices which contributed to the 103 tragedy cannot be fixed unless the truth is known about what went wrong with the system on December 21st, 1988.
Victims of Pan Am 103, representing over 300 relatives of the American victims, and nearly 200,000 other Americans have petitioned Congress for an independent investigation. Our canvas of Senators indicates that Senators are now supporting this call by a nine to one ratio in favor.
We are calling on you, Mr. Chairman, to add your commitment to allowing the truth to be known, for without the truth we cannot expect to see security measures adequate to meet the threat we are facing.
Senator Ford. Thank you, Mr. Hudson.
Mr. Barry, do you want to proceed with your statement, and then I will have a question or two for both of you. Mr. Barry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have submitted to the committee my formal statement. I would like to read the statement right now.
Senator Ford. Your statement will be included in full in the record.
Mr. Barry. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We are some of the relatives whose lives drastically changed on December 21st, 1988, when we received word that our loved ones had unfortunately perished when Pan Am Flight 103 blew apart at 31,000 feet over Lockerbie, Scotland. Amid the grief and confusion, many of the relatives made plans to fly to Lockerbie to assist in identifying and retrieving the remains of their loved ones, if in fact any remains existed.
During that trip, we were shocked by the efforts of Pan Am and U.S. embassy officials in London to stonewall relatives and persuade us to stay in London and away from Lockerbie.
After much persistence and despite several unexplainable delays, we were able to go into Lockerbie and hand over X-rays and medical charts crucial to the process of body identification.
Several days in Lockerbie left us embarrassed and appalled by )( the unresponsiveness and ineffectiveness of the State Department. It was obvious they had no policy or procedures to follow in accumulating and disseminating information pertinent to the relatives of the victims.
The only reason victims' relatives in Lockerbie received any information was due to the fact that we informally organized and demanded daily briefings. At these briefings, Deputy Chief Constable Paul Newel of the Scottish Police would update us on such items as body counts, body identifications, and body release counts.
This information was effective in calming some of the enormous anxiety and despair shared by the victims' relatives. It was not until we returned home to the United States that we learned that relatives who could not make the trip received none of the information we obtained from Scottish authorities.
Why was not this information passed on to victims' relatives in the United States? What exactly was the role and policy of the State Department in Lockerbie? As we pondered these questions, authorities confirmed that Pan Am 103 had been destroyed by a terrorist bomb, and now new questions ran through our minds.
Among them was, how could this happen, especially when au-^ thorities knew that a Pan Am flight originating in Frankfurt ^ within two weeks of Christmas had been targeted? Subsequently it was learned that authorities were also warned to look for a Toshi- * ba radio-cassette player containing plastic explosives.
Yet, with all this information, the bomb still was not detected and 270 innocent men, women and children senselessly and tragically lost their lives.
Ray Salazar, head of security operations for the FAA, commenting on airline security last month in Life magazine said: "We have a problem overseas and that is where extraordinary security measures exist." In lieu of the aforementioned warnings, what extraordinary security measures were taken in the case of Pan Am 103? Obviously not enough. Mr. Chairman, we want to know why.
I am not, nor are any members of the Victims of Pan Am 103 organization, experts in security or the cause and cure of terrorism. We are just average people caught up in an enormous international situation. We have learned more about airport security and government politics than we ever wanted to know.
We feel that changes can and must be made so that others will not have to experience the pain, despair, and frustration we have had to. Nothing that we say or do here can bring our loved ones back, but we are here because what you say and do to improve airport and airline security can prevent this tragic story from happening over and over again.
Specifically, four problem areas require immediate action. These are notification, detection, coordination, and compensation.
Number one, more adequate notification of passengers, baggage handlers, and concerned governmental and airline officers of serious high level threats to airline security is an imperative. The lack thereof is inexcusable. Only a small number of threats are deemed sufficiently serious each year by the FAA to be the subject of a high level security bulletin.
Any airline that is the subject of such threat should be obligated to notify each passenger prior to boarding of the issuance of that FAA bulletin, permitting that person—that passenger, excuse me— to choose whether or not to take that threat.
Surely every American citizen deserves that freedom of choice based on notice and information. The policy of so-called "selective notification" is contemptuous of human life, passenger interests, and American legal traditions.
In addition, every flight captain should be notified of all threats to his flight and possess full authority to delay it or cancel it if he feels that the security of his passengers cannot be guaranteed.
Number two, more adequate detection equipment, personnel, and procedures must be installed for every airport and every airline. This will require more money from both governments and airlines, but the amount now spent per passenger is absurdly low and the current level or, more accurately, current lack of effective security measures is intolerable. For example, it has been known at least since 1986 that plastic bombs in checked baggage could not be detected by existing systems and posed the single most serious terrorist threat to international travelers. New equipment to detect such bombs has been available at least since 1987. But, except for few instances, such equipment has not been installed or even ordered.
Airport security personnel are too often ill-paid, ill-trained, illqualified and uninformed. Their methods and procedures are too often inconsistent from one airline to the next and ill-considered at best. FAA security personnel are also insufficient in number and training.
We spend tens of thousands of dollars every day to ensure safe shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf, therefore protecting our economic interests. Do we not benefit from air commerce?
It seems too little to spend to ensure adequate airline security. Surely there are no higher priorities in the appropriations process than the saving of our citizens' lives.
Number three, more adequate coordination, communication, and involvement among all agencies engaged in gathering intelligence and combating airline terrorism, including the FAA, the State Department, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the FBI, and airline and airport authorities, is essential to the prevention of terrorist attacks on airlines.
Number four, more adequate compensation by way of damages to the families of victims of international airline disasters is the only way to prod the airlines into upgrading and maintaining their security systems, procedures, and policies.
What we need is a system of full, fair, and prompt compensation to the families of those killed. The amendments to the Warsaw Convention which are now pending ratification before the Senate would raise compensation from the $75,000 presently awarded to $325,000.
As part of these amendments each country is permitted to have a supplemental compensation plan which can be without limit. The United States should adopt a supplemental plan that provides for full compensation without limitation for economic and non-economic damages and provides for awards to be made within ninety days with the right of judicial review. In addition, the "Killed In Terrorist Action" statute should be amended to extend its tax benefit to American civilians killed in terrorist actions abroad.
Each of these four action areas must be addressed now. Each of them takes time and passenger safety must be protected in the interim. Until the FAA is able to implement the preceeding measures, we urgejtaem toenforce thfi-following -measures on all inter- • national flights and threatened domestic flights:
Number one, all carry-on and checked baggage must be hand-1 searched until E-scan and TNA machines are in place; Even then, a small percentage will have to be hand-searched.
Two, all checked baggage should be sealed as soon as the appropriate security checks have been completed, and matched with passengers;
Three, the El Al procedures of utilizing security personnel to ° question all passengers should be adopted by all airlines;
Number four, any unattended or abandoned baggage must be removed from the terminal area immediately.
Number five, security personnel must have at least average intelligence, be trained properly, and compensated above what is now the industry standard;
Number six, keep non-passengers out of the secured areas and isolate passengers on connecting flights coming from airports where security is weak and send them through security again;
Number seven, there should be an FAA security officer at all international terminals and the security director should have the power to postpone or cancel any flight;
Number eight, have one security system for the entire airport, as opposed to different agencies working the same terminal with little or no coordination;
Number nine, an 800 number should be established with information on airline threats, enabling passengers to contact a specific airline mentioned for details and to decide for themselves whether they want to take a particular flight.