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TESTIMONY OF MS. VICTORIA CUMMOCK, CORAL GABLES, FL; MS. ROSEMARY WOLFE, ALEXANDRIA, WA; AND PAUL HUDSON, ALBANY, NY

Ms. CUMMOCK. Thank you. At this time I’d like to read a prepared statement from the victims of Pan Am Flight 103. Today, March 21st, marks three months after the destruction of Pan Am 103. I am here representing the families and the friends of the American citizens who were murdered when Pan Am 103, from Frankfurt and London to New York was obliterated by a brutal terrorist bomb. Nothing we can say or do can bring our loved ones back, but we are here because of what you, as our legislators, can say or do to improve airport and airline security, can prevent this horrible part of airline history from every happening again. We believe that the 270 lives lost on Flight 103 could have been saved, and that this bombing could have been prevented. We believe that those who conclude that little or nothing can be done about terrorist attacks on airlines are grievously wrong, and motivated either by commercial considerations, dereliction of duty, or efforts to conceal and tolerate inadequate systems. We speak in sorrow, and we are motivated not by bitterness but by concern for air travelers' lives that can still be saved. We are not experts on the cause and on the cure of terrorism or on criminal behavior, but this needless tragedy that seared our lives, has required us to learn more about airline security than we ever wanted to know. We are shocked by what we have found. We are determined to obtain action that can substantially reduce the prospects for countless more disasters like Pan Am 103. Specifically, five problem areas require immediate action. These areas are pre-notification, detection, coordination, compensation and crisis management. First, pre-notification. Pre-notification of passengers, baggage handlers and concerned governmental and airline officials of serious high level threats to airline security is 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 to such threat should be obligated to notify each passenger prior to boarding, permitting the passengers to choose whether or not to take the flight. 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 interest and American legal traditions. Had the passengers of Pan Am 103 been informed by the airline about the FAA bulletin, we believe that many of them would not have been aboard that plane and would be alive today. In addition, we feel that every flight captain should be notified of all threats to his flight and must be required to sign off at the gate. He must possess full authority to delay or cancel the flight if he feels that the security of his passengers cannot be guaranteed, without recourse from the airline. Safety, not sales, can be the only criterion. Second, more adequate detection equipment. More adequate detection equipment, personnel and procedures must be installed for

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every airport and every airline. This will require more money, from both governments and airlines; but the amount that we now spend per passenger is absurdly low and the current level, or more accurately the 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. FAA stated new equipment to detect such bombs would be available in 1987. But such equipment had not been installed or even ordered on December 21st, and is still not being installed or ordered today. We must get priorities straight. The right to safe air travel must be provided by you, our Government. We must institute mandatory safety procedures and install available plastic bomb detection equipment utilizing the $6 billion in the Aviation Trust Fund. Mr. McCurdy stated today that there have been six units ordered this year. We don't think that that's enough. It will take a year and a half to get all the airports up to speed. Simple economics of supply and demand would provide more units utilizing the funds here that are available. Airport security personnel are too often ill-paid, ill-trained, and

- ill-qualified, 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 in training. Surely there is no higher priority in the appropriations process than the saving of our citizens' lives. Third, more adequate coordination, communication and involvement among all agencies engaged in gathering intelligence and combating airline terrorism, including the FBI, the State Department, the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the Federal Aviation Administration and airport/airline authorities, is essential to prevent terrorist attacks on airlines. Today, however, responsibility is taken by no one, and decisions are made by virtually everyone. The FAA largely leaves all questions of implementation to mid and low-level airline employees who receive no clear guidelines from the FAA and no carefully and consistently compiled and evaluated information. Fourth, more adequate compensation by way of damages to the families of victims of international air disasters is going to be the only way to prod the airlines into upgrading and maintaining their security systems, procedures and policies. The obviously outdated Warsaw Convention of 1929 now places an unrealistically low cap of $75,000 on the value of each passenger's life. As the Government of Italy has already advocated, this cap must be eliminated or drastically removed to protect the families of international flight victims. As it stands right now, a limit of $75,000 liability is not sufficient incentive for the airlines to take necessary security measures and act in a responsible manner. Fifth, mandatory crisis management procedures. Policies and procedures must be instituted throughout the airline industry for crisis management. Families must not be left to rely on the media, as we were, as their only source of information during an air disaster. No matter what the reason for the air disaster, one government agency should be appointed to insure that first, all of the victims families are notified immediately of an air disaster. Second, to assign one liaison to each family who is authorized to provide and disseminate pertinent information on a daily basis, about areas such as general crash information, if there's survivors, if there are bodies, what basically has happened; they should also give us information about procedures, documents needed to ID bodies, the number of bodies found, time frame to ID the bodies, and so forth; they should tell us about the investigation, who is in charge of it, what agencies will contact us, what will be needed from the victims' families, and then coordinate those agencies to have access to basic biographical information about the victims' families to minimize repetition and harassment of the victims' families; and last, personal belongings, what is the process involved in returning personal belongings, no one has informed us of that, and standardize the type of information and format needed to identify personal effects. So pre-notification, detection, coordination, compensation and crisis managements must be addressed now. But, as we all know, each of them takes time, and passenger safety must be protected in the interim. We therefore demand that the FAA enforce the following emergency stop-gap measures until the permanent measures discussed above are in place. First, all carry-on and checked baggage must be hand searched until proper bomb detection equipment is in place. It must be sealed as soon as the appropriate security checks have been completed, and matched with passengers. Any unattended or abandoned baggage must then be turned over to security personnel. Second, the El Al air procedures of utilizing security personnel to question all passengers should be adopted by all airlines at least on a stop-gap basis. Third, late arriving passengers should either be denied entrance or subjected, regardless of possible flight delays, to the same screening process that other passengers have already gone through. Fourth, all un-accompanied luggage must be searched for explosives before allowing it on the plane. We must eliminate curbside check-in. We also must mark each bag after it's gone through security, making sure only bags that have been checked are loaded on to the planes. Limit access to the planes by airline and airport personnel once bags are checked. Next, assign special seats to suspicious passengers where flight crews and FAA sky marshals can monitor them. Keep non-passengers out of domestic and international conCOurSeS. Isolate passengers on connecting flights coming from other airports, where security is weak, requiring them to go through security checks. We must have one uniform security system for all airports and all airlines, as opposed to different agencies working the same airport with little or no coordination. We need to raise the caliber and provide necessary training to security people. At minimum wage, you get what you pay for. An 800 number should be established with information on airline threats, and that's high-level airline threats, enabling ticketed passengers to contact the specific airline mentioned for details, and then to decide for themselves whether they want to take a particular flight. And finally, ban electronic devices large enough to contain plastic explosives' of the type that destroyed Pan Am 103, until new plastic bomb detection monitors are installed. No doubt these recommendations and interim procedures will involve cost, inconvenience and complaints. But they will also save lives. Finally, we urge this Committee to obtain a better sense of the confusion and the cover-up that now characterizes international airline security by investigating a particular case—the case of Pan Am 103. We have attached as an appendix to this statement, a series of questions for which you will be able to obtain answers better than we can. Those answers will not bring back our loved ones, massacred on December 21st at 31,00 feet. Neither will the remedial measures we have advocated here. But at least those measures and others like them can help to increase the safety of our airways. At least they can help to prevent other potential murderers from inflicting pain on more people, no doubt including air travelers like you and your families. If action is taken now that saves the lives of countless others, then the terrible tragedy of last December will have at least produced some small gain to offset the terrible loss that we have suffered. We are grateful for your consideration today of our views, and we are hopeful that you will take the earliest action accordingly. We hope that you concur and recommend a full Congressional investigation in order to get both Senate and House Committees to institute mandatory changes and provide necessary funds to change the current system and do everything in your power to avoid history from repeating itself. Thank you very much. Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Ms. Commock, and I’ll reserve comments until I've heard from the other witnesses. Mr. OBERSTAR. Ms. Wolfe? Ms. WolfE. Mr. Chairman, my name is Rosemary Wolfe. My 20year old stepdaughter, Miriam Luby Wolfe, a student of musical theatre at Syracuse, was a victim aboard Pan Am Flight 103. I thank the Chairman and members for calling this hearing and appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today, on this the three-month anniversary of the bombing. Just a few days ago, as I was getting ready to prepare this testimony, my family learned that only two of Miriam's personal effect to have been identified so far are a watch and an earring. She liked to collect jewelry that had the masks for the muses of comedy and tragedy. As it turned out, the earring she was found still wearing was the muse of tragedy. This was a chilling and startling reminder that the legacy of Pan Am Flight 103 is that it could happen again, that we must take immediate steps to ensure that security and warning systems are improved and implemented in enough time to stop another disaster. This must involve not only the airlines, which have the responsibility for establishing and carrying out security operations, but also FAA, which regulates airline security, the Department of Transportation, which oversees FAA, the State Department, which manages our policy, and the Congress, the watchdog of new legislation. My family has many unanswered questions about how the tragedy could have been averted and why it was not. Why weren't the passengers and their families warned? Why didn't airline security detect the bomb? We now know that, prior to the bombing of Flight 103, FAA issued two security bulletins involving Frankfurt that alerted Pan Am and other U.S. airlines abroad about bomb threat dangers. One on November 18th about a bomb contained in a Toshiba Bombeat 453 radio which had been seized by West German police in an anti-terrorist raid in Frankfurt, and one on December 7 relating that a caller to the State Department in Helsinki said that a bombing attempt would be made before Christmas aboard a Pan Am plane traveling from Frankfurt to the United States. These two FAA Security Bulletins were reportedly two of only 27 Security Bulletins issued by FAA last year. There were reportedly hundreds of warnings related to air travel, but only 27 were considered important enough to achieve the high level status of security bulletins. What did the airlines, FAA and the State Department do with this information? Why didn't they make a connection between the two bulletins and ensure that strict security was enforced when Frankfurt was involved in both bulletins. Why weren't pilots, who were on board security officers and flight crews not informed of the security bulletins? Were Pan Am crews even told about the November 4th FAA Security Bulletin, we just learned about yesterday which cautioned U.S. carriers operating in Europe about a possible hijacking? Given the high-level warnings in the November 18th and December 7th FAA bulletins, did Pan Am airport staff x-ray checked luggage originating at Frankfurt and Heathrow and coming into Frankfurt from other airports for radio cassettes? Why wasn't checked luggage matched to passengers? What efforts were made to question people? Were any Pan Am flights, including Flight 103 on December 21st, or any other U.S. airline flights originating in Europe searched for bombs? Did FAA make any specific recommendations to the airlines on ways of increasing security after the two FAA Security Bulletins on bomb threats were issued? We do not know if additional security measures were taken. We do know one thing, whatever measures were used, they weren't good enough. In light of the British announcement asking all carriers into their airports to assure that radio cassettes be removed and banned from luggage, we ask whether the Secretary of Transportation and FAA will make this a matter of policy for all U.S. carriers and airports' We have unanswered questions about the high number of empty seats—some reports say over 160—on Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21st, and Pan Am sales of half price tickets for the flights. According to some reports from travel agents, the flight was booked in October. If seats were cancelled, when were they cancelled, who cancelled them and why? I know of a specific situation regarding the tickets. One of Miriam's best friends called Pan Am on December 15th and asked

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