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proved our security, other airports in other countries were not following: Rome, for instance, where we saw they had very lax security; Athens, Greece; others that did not follow U.S. standards. But we have now even moved another step further, and that is by investing considerable sums of money in the last decade into developing and enhancing the capability through technology and improved technology. This is not 100 percent effective, but it's about 95 percent. The odds are that a person would be detected if they brought these kinds of explosives through one of these machines. Will we ever be 100 percent? I would never venture to guess that we would or to state categorically that we would, but I think we have improved dramatically. I think the awareness will continue to put pressure on authorities to improve our capability, whether it's technology, security itself, and the deterrents to those terrorists. Mr. PAYNE. Does the bill actually address the next step, research and development beyond—— Mr. McCURDY. That's correct. We direct the administrator to continue research in other types of technology, whether it's IM mobility spectrometry or biotechnology and x-ray. It may take a combination of technologies in order to provide the type of security that we think is essential. We've had problems. As the chairman knows, when I chaired the subcommittee that had the R&D budget on this, we were always being squeezed by other committees and other priorities within the aviation sector, and security has to remain, in my opinion, at the top of the list. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from North Carolina? The gentleman from Tennessee? Mr. DUNCAN. No questions. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from Missouris? Mr. HANCOCK. No questions. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from Illinois? Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. McCurdy, one question to clarify a point for me, please: the TNA technology, are we using that at any of our hubs now? Mr. McCURDY. Well, we're using it in Los Angeles. There was a test site and they've been used in tests. They've been successful. Again, the success rate is right at 95 percent. They are slower than we would like. I think over time that technology will improve so that will be much more rapid, but it's at that stage that Administrator MacArtor last year told us in our subcommittee that he felt that it was close enough we could start using it. Mr. CoSTELLO. How many hubs do we have in this country? Mr. McCURDY. My calculation is 71. That's determined—there's no clear definition because the number of flights per year—I think it's—is it 2 million, or whatever the number of flights—the experts can tell us, but it's the number of flights per year in that airport that determines whether or not it's a hub. It's right at 71. Mr. CoSTELLO. The best case scenario, if we had the funds from the trust fund to implement TNA at all 71 hubs, what are we talking about as far as the time frame?
Mr. McCURDY. Well, our bill requires that it be done within a year and a half, if the administrator—again, that's a schedule of actual development. The contractors—and, again, a contractor in my district has nothing to do with local interests—the contractors has informed our subcommittee that they could be producing at a rate that within two or three years they would have sufficient numbers of—— Mr. CoSTELLO. And the cost, my understanding is, about $750,000. Mr. McCURDY. That's $750,000 per machine. Again, I think if you get the per unit rate of production up sufficiently, experience would show that that cost would decrease over time. Mr. CoSTELLO. Thank you. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Jones? Mr. Jones. Mr. Chairman, my questions have been answered. I would like to thank my colleagues for their valuable and incisive testimony today. Mr. OBERSTAR. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Lewis? Mr. LEwis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I don't have a question, but I would like to commend and thank my colleagues for their statements. Mr. Chairman, this is my first meeting of this Aviation Subcommittee. I think I'm the newest member. I'm here to learn and listen. Thank you. Mr. OBERSTAR. We thank the gentleman. We welcome him to the subcommittee. I'm glad to have his—he may be new, but he's an experienced in-fighter and we're glad to have him. We thank you very much for your very valuable testimony and appreciate your insights into the issues pending before the committee. The bill that Mr. McCurdy has introduced, we will take a very careful look at that. That is something we think is very interesting. We would like to work with you on that legislation. Mr. McCURDY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I certainly welcome that effort and that support. I would also indicate to Chair and the committee that I now chair the Oversight and Evaluations Subcommittee of the Intelligence Committee. I would extend an opportunity to work with you and a hand to work with you in the future in making sure that all the relevant agencies of the Federal Government are involved as much as possible in fighting this—— Mr. OBERSTAR. I appreciate that. I think it underscores the point that will recur throughout the hearing—that no one agency of Government, no one entity of the public sector, and certainly no one entity in the private sector can solve this problem alone. It's going to take all of us working together, and the more talent we apply, the better the results are going to be. Mr. McNulty, thank you very much for your testimony and for your very deep and genuine concern for your constituents, the families of the victims of PanAm 103. Mr. McNULTY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statements of Mr. McCurdy and Mr. McNulty follow:
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to testify on the Airport Security Technology and Research Act of 1989, which I am introducing today, along with my colleagues Tom Lewis and Dan Glickman. We are witnessing an attack by international terrorists on innocent victims, commercial aviation, and the traveling public. Terrorists attack with no warning and no rationale. Their weapon of choice is a pliable, ordorless substance that is twice as powerful as TNT and is virtually invisible to conventional security devices. It can be hidden in a brief case or a small cassett recorder. We were reminded of the deadly nature of plastic explosives like SEMTEX when Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland last December. A total of 270 people died that day. Unfortunately we can not change the tragedy of the Lockerbie incident. We can, however, fight back against the use of plastic explosives. Thermal Neutron Activation is a mature technology that has been proven to have 95% accuracy in detecting plastic explosives. During the recent hearing held by the Committee on Science Space and Technology on which I serve, Allan McArtor stated, with respect to TAN, “We do not see any technical hurdles, however, we would like to see some improved performance capabilities with respect to through-put.” The Federal Aviation Administration has the consolidated lab and field tests on TNA and other “sister” technologies, but, to date, has not done enough to see that this equipment be expeditiously installed in major airports throughout the United States. As you know, the FAA has planned to deploy six TNA devices at the high-risk airports within the next year and I commend them on this effort. However, I believe that the effort needs to be accelerated and a clear agenda set for the installation of explosives detection equipment in all major airports. Terrorists are not likely to curtail their insidious acts while we debate and formulate this agenda. Therefore, the FAA should take more of a leadership role to ensure that mature plastic explosives detection equipment like TNA be installed in major airports without unnecessary delay. The Airport Security Technology and Research Act will put into place, through the FAA's rulemaking process, deadlines for installation of detection equipment. The FAA will have 90 days after the bill is enacted to initiate a rulemaking proceeding and 180 days to issue a final rule. The final rule will require that the detection equipment be installed in major airports no later than one and a half years after enactment of the bill. The bill requires that the FAA administrator outline: Who will purchase; who will install and operate explosives detection equipment to be used at major airports; how the equipment will be purchased and; who will pay to maintain and operate the equipment. The agenda must be set quickly to ensure safety for airline passenger and crews from the invisible and deadly threat of plastic explosives. The Act also calls for accelerated research and development of other technologies which may be used for explosives detection. There are about 30 contracts with the FAA for other technologies including fast neutron activation, enhanced X-ray, ion mobility spectrometry, and biotechnology. The FAA should accelerate funding for research on fast, accurate, low-cost technologies so that we can keep a step ahead of the threat that terrorists pose to commercial aviation. Mr. Chairman, it is obvious that airport security is just a part of stopping terrorism. We must work with United States intelligence agencies and encourage cooperation with foreign governments to put an end to terrorism. But, until the threat of terrorism no longer exists, Congress, the FAA and all those responsible for safety must use available resources to ensure safe air travel. Explosives detection equipment is an extremely valuable resource and, most importantly, it is available.
TESTIMONY OF CONGRESSMAN MICHAEL R. McNULTY
Mr. Chairman; members of the committee; and family members of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103:
Thank you for allowing me to express my deep concerns about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy which occurred on December 21st of last year.
I represent the 23rd district of the state of New York—the capital district of the state.
Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hudson reside in Albany, which is in my district. Their 16 year old daughter, Melina, was on board that flight. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hartunian, of Niskayuna, lost their 22 year old daughter, Lynne. In addition, other area families suffered in this tragedy. Mrs. Barbara Primeau of Greenwich, lost her twin sons, Eric and Jason Coker, who were 22. Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Nucci of Hudson lost their 22 year old son Chris. Mr. and Mrs. Rafferty of Ticonderoga lost their 21 year old daughter, Bonnie Rafferty Williams, as well as their son-in-law, Eric, 24, and their two granddaughters, Brittany, 2 months, and Stephanie, 19 months. Mr. Edgar Eggleston's son, Edgar III, of Glens Falls, was returning to visit his mother, who was terminally ill with cancer. She died two days after her son, on December 23. We have a responsibility to those 259 people, the 11 in Lockerbie, as well as their families and friends, to do all that we can to insure that such a tragedy never occurs again. I have written Secretary Skinner and acting FAA Administrator Whittington concerning the manner in which certain aspects of the tragedy are being addressed, as well as the steps that should be taken to assure the future security of airline pasSengers. Specifically, I have requested that in the future, when “high level” warnings are issued, the information should be given to the public. Also, the technology which is available to detect plastic explosives should be deployed with all deliberate speed. This should be a top priority. In the interim, manual searches should be conducted on international flights whenever a threat is suspected. Additionally, family members are anxiously awaiting the return of the personal effects of their loved ones. All identifiable personal effects should be released immediately to the victims' relatives. The United States government must take the responsibility to implore the Scottish authorities to comply with this request without further delay. Details were released last week by the FAA that an “aviation security bulletin” was released on November 18, a full 4 weeks before the tragedy. The Toshiba cassette recorder, equipped with a barometric detonating device, was described, and a photo issued, referring to the anti-terrorist sweep by West German police on October 23rd, in which a similar recorder was confiscated. British authorities issued a British air carrier only warning on November 22nd. A phone call warning of an impending bomb attack was placed to the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki. It was dismissed as a crank. A second warning was released on December 19–two days before the attack, referring to the “previous telex”. Incredibly, the U.S. airlines operating out of Britain did not receive a copy of this until sometime between January 16 and the 19th. This is deplorable and must never happen again. I share your concern, Mr. Chairman, that airline security must be improved and that future communiques' concerning possible attacks not be dealt with in the same manner. I would like to submit for the record a copy of the statement issued by the families of the victims on February 6th. I also intend to introduce a resolution expressing the sense of the Congress about this matter, and aspects of my previous testimony. Thank you for permitting me to testify. I join you in the hope of preventing another such tragedy in the future.
GENERAL STATEMENT Issued BY FLIGHT 103 VICTIM FAMILY MEMBERs
We are relatives of some of those innocent persons murdered in this wanton attack on Pan Am Flight 103, the most massive terrorist attack in history aimed at American civilians. During the past six difficult weeks, not only have we had to accept the senseless death of our loved ones, we were forced to confront the bureaucracy to have the remains of our loved ones returned, we have arranged for funerals, and attended along with over 160,000 others, numerous memorial services in Syracuse, New York City, and Lockerbie, Scotland, and scores of other cities and towns in the United States. We have had the support and sympathy from grieving relatives, friends, members of our communities, and indvidual airline employees. We have collectively received several hundred thousand cards and letters of condolence. The outpouring of sharing has been a great comfort to us.
However, there has been one quarter from which the response has been utter silence. We have received no condolences from the top officials of Pan Am nor the leaders of our national government. Unlike the British Government leaders, our President, Vice President, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Transportation hav not attended any of the memorial services that were held. Not even 2nd level U.S officials have been present. But most disturbing to us has been the utter silence c our national leaders over the past 6 weeks. Our numerous letters are now answered we see no sign of action, we are not being informed of any events which would lea to answers to the many questions that remain. The question must be asked: Can i be that the U.S. Government policy is to ignore the Flight 103 bombing by doin little or nothing? In the immediate aftermath of the Flight 103 bombing we were shocked to lear. that the FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) had issued written alerts of a terroris threat to bomb a Pan Am flight originating in Frankfurt during the pre-Christma holiday period. These warnings had apparently been sent to U.S. embassies, the air line, British officials, and the U.S. military personnel in Frankfurt, however, th warning alert was not available to passengers or crew of Flight 103. Presiden Reagan when asked about this policy of keeping warnings, even high level alert secret from the public, asserted that so many threats are received that to mak them available to the public could stop all air traffic. The FAA's own reports, how ever, show a relatively small number of threats to aircraft (400–500 per year out c 6 million flights) and a very small number of high level threats (variously reporte at 22 to 24 in all of 1988). The threat to Pan Am Flight 103 after December 5th wa apparently classified as such a high level threat. While the number of people wh knew of the FAA terrorist alert is not known at present, the approximately 16 vacant seats on this usually crowded pre-Christmas flight indicates the distinct pos sibility that the alert was more widely known than has yet been reported. Both the State Department, and the Transportation department promised in lat December a “review” of the policy on warnings, but the policy (or lack of policy apparently remains intact and nothing further has been heard of this “review”. We believe the present defacto policy of issuing warnings of terrorist threats t government agency employees while withholding such alerts from the flying publi and the flight crews is both immoral and possibly criminal and it must be roundl. condemned. We call on U.S. Transportation Secretary Skinner to disavow this FAA and airline policy forthwith, and to make available upon request to any perspectiv international air passenger a current summary of FAA alerts or reported threats t aircraft, and to require notification of flight crews. The anger felt by many of us about suppressed warnings has been heightened b revelation that airline security measures cannot generally detect plastic bombs i the checked baggage. While the FAA and the airline have apparently known of thi massive security gap since 1986 and the FAA has ordered new equipment to detec such bombs, no interim measures to detect such bombs were undertaken, apparentl for reasons of commercial convenience. Many questions need answers—How would warnings or alerts be suppressed whe the FAA and airlines knew that their security measures were ineffective? By wha right, and on whose authority, was the information on ineffective security measure and specific terrorist bomb threats kept from the public and flight crews? Why ha the FAA and Pan Am still refused to institute effective security measures to detec plastic bombs in luggage compartments? (The FAA regulations issued on Decembe 28, 1988 following the Flight 103 bombing call merely for X-rays of all luggage which cannot with current equipment detect plastic bombs.) It is also time for accountability as well as answers. We call on Secretary o Transportation Skinner, to demand the resignation of FAA Administrator McArtor whose poor judgement is principally responsible for the present dangerous conditio of airline security. His policies have placed the security of our loved ones and al international air travellers, in the hands of the terrorist groups, who attack th United States by striking at innocent civilians on American overseas air carriers We would like not to turn to some sensitive matters of direct concern to most rel atives. The handling of the remains of unidentified victims and the indefinite dela: on return of the personnel efforts of property. (Personal effects refer to very person al things removed from a body or found in the immediate vicinity of a body.) A funeral service was held last week in Scotland for a number of victims whos bodies had not been fully recovered or identified. Unfortunately, only short notice o no notice was given to a number of American next of kin. While family members were originally told in the week after the crash that per sonal effects would be returned to the next of kin with the bodily remains, an other property would be identified and returned by Pan Am, Scottish authoritie subsequently ruled that they would handle these matters. Scottish authorities hav stated that personal effects and property of Americans will be turned over to th U.S. State Department rather than released directly to the next of kin. Despite ou