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I think that the technology is proven. It's 95 percent reliable. It's been tested in airports today. The costs will not be that significant if we make a decision and the administrator makes a decision to go ahead and install them. Mr. MoLINARI. Again, looking at the trust fund, there's some $6 billion in the trust fund today uncommitted. Were we to move aggressively ahead with this program, even at the $800,000 a copy cost—we have some 270 airports—it wouldn't put a great dent in those trust funds. What is your perception as to why we can't move more aggressively ahead so that we can put in the protection. Ninety-five percent success rate is as good as you're going to get with any system. Mr. McCURDY. Well, there is still that fundamental question of who pays. Unless the trust fund is deemed subject to this utilization, then we either have to appropriate the moneys directly or the airports themselves or the carriers will have to purchase this equipment. That's been a sticking point perhaps in this debate, but I think we need to get over that. I don't think the cost is going to be that great. In my legislation, in the bill that I am introducing today, we have them start at least at the hub airports in the United States, the busiest airports. There are some 71 that would meet the definition of the number of flights per year to be a hub. Again, we're not talking about as large a sum as we might if we were trying to install it in every single airport in the United States or those overseas. I might also mention, because I'm sure someone is going to ask at one point, why didn't we include foreign airports in this bill? The fact of the matter is, and to be perfectly candid here for my colleagues, we wanted to avoid joint referrals—is the first instance. We don't want to have it delayed and bogged down in other committees. If someone on the floor, even after this committee meets, would want to amend the legislation to include foreign airports, then that certainly would be welcomed on my part, but we wanted to avoid that particular parliamentary situation in the Congress today. Mr. MoLINARI. Thank you. I think your legislation has a great deal of merit, and I look forward to having it come on the floor in the near future. Mr. McCURDY. Thank you. Mr. MoLINARI. I'd like to welcome Mr. McNulty, the gentleman from New York. I haven't had the pleasure of saying hello to you yet, but welcome to you. I have just one or two questions, if I may. In your testimony you have indicated that you would want the administration to notify the public when high level warnings are issued. That's always a question of definition. What do you mean when you say “high level”? Mr. McNULTY. It's my understanding, Mr. Molinari, that last year there were approximately 22 such warnings issued on international flights. It does not seem unreasonable to me in that category of high level alerts that the public should be notified. I’m not talking about the ones that I guess there are several a day, threats that are received. Obviously, I don't think that we should interrupt international air travel every time some terrorist picks up a phone, but when they are characterized as high level alerts by people in our intelligence communities, then I think the public has the right to know. Mr. MoLINARI. You're not making reference, for example, to somebody who receives a phone call saying there's a bomb on the Eastern shuttle coming from New York to Washington, that in a case like that people should be notified? Mr. McNULTY. Well, I’m not an intelligence expert, but I understand that we have ways of categorizing these threats to see if there's any substance to them. When you're able to whittle down several hundred in the course of a year to 22 that are categorized as high level alerts, it would seem to me that I would place trust in the judgment of the experts who categorize those 22 high level alerts and make them available to the public. Mr. MoLINARI. The gentleman makes a very good point. For a while I was receiving daily bulletins from FAA. It was astounding to see every day the number of bomb threats. We could see with some of the labor strife that's going on right now, depending upon what we define as a high level threat, how you could effectively close a carrier down by such phone calls. Mr. McCURDY. If the gentleman would yield— Mr. MoLINARI. Sure, I'm be glad to yield. Mr. McCURDY. May I make one point? The sad reality is, even with warning in the instance the Pan Am flight, there is good question whether or not, even with searches, that that device would have been detected, because of the nature of the threat that we're dealing with. We're no longer dealing with terrorists that are building bombs in their garages. They're using sophisticated triggering devices. They're using sophisticated explosives that are very, very difficult to detect, and that is why we need to go beyond just the question of warning, which I certainly concur with my friend from New York, but the point of the matter is that unless we literally take apart every camera or every briefcase, literally tear things apart, it is very difficult unless we implement this new technology. Even that is not going—it depends on the—there are some questions as to how reliable as to certain amounts. But at least in the areas where there is the greatest threat, I think that if we move forward rapidly on this technology, that we can at least set up even a greater deterrent to that terrorist. If that person is willing to give up their own life, then that, too, is even a more difficult question. Mr. McNULTY. I agree with the gentleman, but in the interim, until that technology is deployed, in the instance of these high level alerts, I believe the public has a right to know and airline passengers who are traveling should be able to make the judgment as to whether or not they want to take that risk after such an alert has been issued. Mr. MoLINARI. Thank you. My time is about up, Mr. Chairman. I thank both the gentlemen for their responses to the questions. Mr. OBERSTAR. Further detailed information on those matters will be provided by subsequent witnesses which we want to get to, but, just for the record, for 1987, against U.S. aircraft and U.S. airports alone, there were 639 threats evaluated at one level or another. Gentlemen, thank you very much. I'll turn to my other colleagues. The gentleman from the Virgin Islands? Mr. DE LUGO. I have no questions at this time. I want to just commend Mr. McCurdy and Mr. McNulty on their testimony. I think I have learned more about this just listening, quite frankly. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from Texas? Mr. LAUGHLIN. I have no questions, but I want to thank Mr. McCurdy and Mr. McNulty for their comments. It's been quite educational. I commend you for being here. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from Minnesota? Mr. STANGELAND.. I have no questions, Mr. Chairman. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from California? The gentleman from Colorado? The gentleman from New York? Mr. Towns. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me commend both of you. I've enjoyed the testimony. I know, Mr. McCurdy, you indicated the fact that you would support the trust fund, getting the money for the trust fund. I wonder if my colleague from New York would just comment on that. I did not hear him on that position. Would you support getting money for the trust fund to put into security? Mr. McNULTY. Actually I'm not familiar with that issue, Mr. Towns, but it sounds like something I would like to support, yes. Mr. Towns. Okay, thank you very much. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from Iowa? Mr. LIGHTFOOT. Just one quick question, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McCurdy, the TNA technology I know is an onward going thing. In fact, at Iowa State now they're putting together a nondestructive identification and investigation center to do research into this area. Have you considered the potential of approaching it from another angle since one of those explosives looks like ordinary clothes line rope? We've seen a number of these things. They're very easily passed off as common, every-day items. Possibly there should be a requirement that the manufacturers of those explosives put something in them that would make them much more readily detectable? Mr. McCURDY. That's a good point. I don't know if you recall the problems a few years ago with some former U.S. intelligence personnel, Mr. Wilson and others, that sold huge quantities, airplane loads—I’m not talking about Piper or Cessnas; we're talking C-130s and transport loads of SEMTEX type of plastic explosive to Libya. Yes, you raise a good point. That's something we should consider. There are very tight controls on the export and the distribution of this type of explosive. It's a classified type of explosive. But we have seen in the past that it has gotten into the wrong hands, and in such quantity—again, in such huge quantity—that I think existing amounts are going to pose a threat in the foreseeable future.
Mr. LIGHTFOOT. I would think it would be a logical assumption that anyone using those materials is not going to do it under, shall we say, legitimate circumstances? Mr. McCURDY. That's exactly right. Mr. LIGHTFoot. Thank you, Mr. McCurdy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Clement? Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. McCurdy, as we all know, not all airports are international airports. Since this TNA is approximately $750,000 per copy, is your main focus in your legislation the international airports in the United States or all airports since this equipment is so expensive? Mr. McCURDY. That's a very good question. We focus on the hub airports, again those that will receive the greatest traffic. It should start—and, again, this is a rulemaking procedure by the administrator, and he could start with a priority and work down—does it have international traffic, first—and move through the most heavily traveled airports within our country. The international issue I tried to address earlier, and that is we don't have it in this particular bill primarily to avoid sequential referral and further delays in the legislation. We want to get this out and get the direction to the administrator. Secondly, it is a more difficult issue of trying to—we, the United States, dictating to foreign governments and foreign operators how they shall—what equipment they should install. I think there are ways that we can do that, and we want to give the administrator and the Secretary of Transportation some flexibility—and the State Department—in how they choose to handle that. Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. McNulty, you mentioned in your testimony about manual searches on overseas flights in case of threats. What about domestic flights? Mr. McNULTY. Well, I would suggest that, Mr. Clement, in cases where a reasonable threat has occurred or a high level threat has occurred, that in the cases of overseas flights, until the plastic detection devices are deployed, I would have no problem in seeing that happen generally on international flights. As I said to the chairman, when you take into consideration the amount of time that you're expending in the course of that travel to go overseas, to tack on an hour or so on either end I don't think is a unreasonable delay to assure security. Mr. CLEMENT. You're not referring to domestic flights? Mr. McNULTY. No, I’m not. Mr. CLEMENT. All right. Thank you. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from Oklahoma? Mr. INHOFE. I have done a little research on the incidents of the threats. Although these are not categorized as high level threats or low level threats, and in my own thinking I have a hard time distinguishing between the two anyway because a threat is a threat. However, it does show that going up from 1983, it peaked out in 1986 with 367 threats against aircraft, and it also peaked out in threats against airports. Then it went down, and now it's starting back up again. So this is a very appropriate time in the cycle to address it. It appears to me, Mr. McNulty, that you're correct in addressing those areas where a threat may have been made, but after listening to both testimonies, it seems that Mr. McCurdy's approach is you're almost assuming that there would be a threat on all of them. I kind of like that. The incidents of actual explosions and detonations that have taken place relative to threats is an interesting study in itself, beo there have been several of them where there was no threat at all. It would seem to me, and particularly if we could use this as leverage to pick up those last five or six votes to get the trust fund off budget, that your bill, Mr. McCurdy could perform another great service for the whole country in getting that money that is there for that designed purpose spent. It appears to me that we ought to consider that maybe instead of just addressing where a threat has taken place, maybe an assumption that there is a threat out there somewhere on all flights. For that reason, I–– Mr. McNULTY. I think that's what we're doing when we’re moving toward deploying the detection devices for the plastic explosives generally; it's making that assumption. Mr. INHOFE. Yes, I think that's right. I think's a proper assumption for us to take. I thank both of you for addressing this because it looks to me like, if the pattern from the past is going to continue, then next year could be even worse than this year is. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from Virginia? Mr. PAYNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank also my colleagues, Mr. McNulty and Mr. McCurdy, for that very informative and helpful testimony. I have one question for Mr. McCurdy having to do with the technology. I believe, Mr. Chairman, as you started this hearing you mentioned that the purpose of this was to put us a step ahead of the terrorists. In terms of the legislation that you're proposing, would this in your mind put us a step ahead and, if so, does it address how we stay a step ahead of the terrorists? Mr. McCURDY. I believe it does put us a step ahead. I think it— and I’ve had to learn a great deal, I think as this country has, in the past eight or ten years with respect to terrorism. It was the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon which probably awakened this country more than any other event. We were no longer dealing with countries that had ballistic missiles; that an actual threat and a very significant threat were as easily those who were driving pickup trucks or those who were claiming explosive devices in restaurants or in airplanes, for that matter. We have improved our intelligence capability vis-a-vis the terrorists. We have a better understandings of who they are, and that's why we're able to classify the threats in a much more systematic way and to know whether or not this person is connected with some type of terrorist organization or activity. We have improved our deterrent posture, and that is by increasing security. We for years were disturbed that, even though we im