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Mr. BELGER. Oh, very definitely. On the 29th of December the FAA Administrator announced that we were imposing some rather strict procedures that focused on checked baggage and small parcels. Mr. PACKARD. Let me also ask you a question that perhaps would not violate security. What kind of monitoring or inspection do you have of the procedures that are now in place and that were in place before? Mr. BELGER. Well, as I said in response to a previous question, we frequently inspect the operations of U.S. air carriers. Since December 29th we have conducted assessments at the great majority of those airports to specifically monitor the implementation of those new requirements that were imposed on the 29th of December. Mr. PACKARD. What does FAA do in terms of researching new technologies in companies that are working on detection devices? Do you aggressively pursue those? Do you visit companies? What do you do in terms of looking for and pursuing new technology? Mr. BELGER. We have a variety of ways to do that, sir, in trying to bring out the best technology possible through solicitations, through academia, to get some of the finest minds in the country
and in the world to look at some of these very, very complex prob
lems. We have unsolicited proposals that come to us that we look
Mr. PACKARD. This may be a question which you may prefer not to answer, or to answer under a different situation. There are, in the last 24 hours, claims that PanAm and, I presume, Government agencies, were negligent in terms of heeding threats. Do you have any response to that? Ambassador McMANAway. I don't believe it's true, sir. One of the most helpful things in this hearing today was the testimony of the two Members of Congress who reminded us all that in spite of the warnings, the threats, the hoax, what have you, this device was very difficult to detect. Pan American had increased security measures against both the hoax, which we left standing as an alert, and the bomb. Mr. PACKARD. My last question, Mr. Chairman. Then to your satisfaction did Pan Am follow all of the rules, regulations, and procedures that were expected of them under the existing threat? Ambassador McMANAway. I don’t believe I’m the right person to answer that question, and I suspect my colleague would prefer to answer it in executive session. Mr. PACKARD. Thank you. You would prefer to answer that otherwise? Mr. BELGER. I would prefer to deal with that question in executive session. Mr. PACKARD. Thank you. Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much, Mr. Packard. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Laughlin? Mr. LAUGHLIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Ambassador, earlier today we heard testimony that El Al Airlines, which has been subjected to terroristic threats for many years, has a two-hour requirement for passengers and people delivering packages to arrive at the airlines before that departure. I would like to know if we have any procedures when we have a general threat, as existed in the Frankfurt area, where we require U.S. carriers or other carriers landing in the United States to have a two-hour requirement for passengers so that their luggage or packages could be searched while that passenger or the person delivering the package was present? And if we don’t, do you think it would be a good procedure under those types of circumstances where we would require the person delivering a passenger or goods to be carried on an airlines to be present while it was searched? Ambassador McMANAway. I'm not the expert on this, Congressman, but I would certainly have no objection myself. I would say that I just happened to be talking to a member of my office who just came in a few days ago from London on PanAm, and he said that the new procedures are quite onerous, it took him quite a while longer to get through the airport, but he didn't hear anybody complaining about it. Mr. LAUGHLIN. Maybe someone else on the panel is in a better position to answer whether we have those procedures in place. Ambassador MCMANAway. I would make just one point, if I could. I think that in fairness to the U.S. carriers, El Al does have a very excellent record and they have very rigorous standards, but they have only about 20 aircraft that they are managing. So they have a much more manageable problem than our air carriers have. Mr. OBERSTAR. Furthermore to that point, Mr. Ambassador, it should be pointed out that El Al is a national carrier and is not required to make a profit. Mr. LAUGHLIN. It seems to me, as a member of the traveling public, that we would not object to the FAA or the airlines requiring a two-hour appearance for our luggage to be checked when these threats are floating around in the area. Ambassador McMANAway. I wouldn't object at any time. Mr. LAUGHLIN. That's all I have, Mr. Chairman. Mr. OBERSTAR. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Payne? Mr. PAYNE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to follow up on the point that the Chairman just made, or the question, perhaps, having to do with the relationship between the State Department and the FAA and the process related to the matter of determining a specific and credible threat, and then the recommendation or requiring of cancellation and public travel advisories. Mr. Ambassador, could you comment specifically on how that works, and what the responsibilities of the State Department and the FAA are in that process? Ambassador McMANAway. I could do a much better job in executive session, Congressman. Mr. PAYNE. That's the only question I have. Thank you. Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Ambassador, Mr. Belger, the United States has for several years had the Sky Marshals program in operation. I believe they've traveled something like four million miles in the last year, 1988. What has been the effectiveness—what deterrent effect is there with Sky Marshals? Have there been any arrests on board aircraft? Could you elaborate on those points? Mr. SALAZAR. If I may, Mr. Chairman? Mr. OBERSTAR. Please. Mr. SALAZAR. I'd like to respond to the very effective use of Federal Air Marshals which we continue to use as a countermeasure. There have not been any arrests made, but that isn't to say that their presence or the mere fact that they are flying has not deterred the possibility of these things occurring. The FAA did something fairly unique that it did not do originally when we flew Federal Air Marshals. Rather than hiring strictly Federal Air Marshals, or those people that we would consider just to be “gun-toters,” we hired FAA Special Agents. These people are the same people we rely on consistently to do all of the regulatory enforcement inspections to ensure a safe civil aviation security environment, whether that is here in the United States or overseas. Our regulatory inspections could also require the safe transportation of hazardous materials and a variety of other types of duties, and only on a part-time basis do we then deploy them as effective countermeasures in flight. Mr. OBERSTAR. I want to ask this question about the FAA and the Department since we have you and your associates here, Mr. Ambassador. In the wake of PanAm 103 and in the wake of the ICAO conference in Canada, increased security standards have been promulgated and increased requirements placed upon U.S. carriers. The U.S. carriers feel that the same standards have not been applied to foreign carriers, and that, first of all, this is creating a security gap; and that secondly, it is creating a competitive gap between U.S. and foreign carriers. I would like you to respond to the steps that are being taken to equalize the burdens of these security provisions and to equalize the security measures provided by both U.S. and foreign carriers. Mr. BELGER. We want to see an improvement, a strengthening of security procedures throughout the world. That was our clear objective when we went to Montreal for the ICAO conference. I believe that the resolution which was unanimously passed in Montreal will result in some improved worldwide security standards. It is an appropriate avenue to follow to, on a multinational basis, achieve worldwide improvements. In addition to that, as I said earlier, just last week, after a very thorough review, Secretary Skinner did announce the implementation of a new requirement placed upon foreign air carriers that would require them to provide to us their security programs for our review. I think that will give us the ability to ensure that those procedures used by foreign airlines are adequate to meet the threat that exists in any particular location. Mr. OBERSTAR. But they are not the same requirements imposed on U.S. carriers? Mr. BELGER. Not necessarily. That is correct. Mr. OBERSTAR. Why not? Mr. BELGER. The general basis upon which we would review the foreign air carrier programs would be the internationally-accepted ICAO standards. Mr. OBERSTAR. But if different standards and perhaps a higher level of security or delay of other requirements, costs of providing security detection devices, are going to be imposed on U.S. carriers, then there is going to be a competitive gap as well as a security gap. Mr. BELGER. Economics is obviously a factor. We must assure that U.S. air carriers have the highest standards that we can humanly and technologically envision. As I said before, we want to see international standards raised. We are working aggressively through the international community to do that. I am optimistic that we will see results. We will also use our regulatory authority under Part 129 to review those programs very thoroughly, and we will continue that aVenue. Mr. OBERSTAR. I think there is a great willingness on the part of the FAA and the Department of Transportation to get as tough on foreign carriers as you are getting on American carriers. But let me ask Ambassador McManaway, being very blunt about it, certain high level sources have told me that they have been told by foreign government representatives that if we get as tough on foreign carriers as we are getting on American carriers, that they won't tolerate it; that's an intrusion upon sovereignty, and that they will take countermeasures against U.S. carriers that will have economic consequences for them operating abroad. You are the voice of the State Department today.
Ambassador McMANAway. I had not heard that, Mr. Chairman. I am not too surprised to hear it. I, for one, would be quite prepared to go at them regardless. I think one thing we might mention here is that one reason that we and the United Kingdom called for the special session of the ICAO at the ministerial level—to which Secretary Skinner led our delegation—was just this problem of trying to get standards raised worldwide. Now, at that meeting the Council charged its special committee to go out and look at raising standards in a number of specific areas, and I will just mention a few: detection of sabotage devices and special explosives; comprehensive screening of checked baggage; screening of passengers and hand baggage; security problem created by increasing carriage of radios, computers, and other electrical equipment; and so on. It's a fairly long list. We don’t have the results of the work of that committee of the Council. I would submit that we should see what they come back with and see what the other countries do adopt for their carriers. To be honest, there was discussion during this Council meeting by the less developed countries of the cost, and they did give us some static about the developed countries, imposing—or trying to impose—on them standards that they couldn't afford, and that we should pay for it. So that may come back to haunt us later on. But let's see what comes of this work plan of the Council of ICAO and see where it leaves us, and go from there. Mr. OBERSTAR. I appreciate your response, and I can certainly understand the concerns of lesser developed countries for the costs. But if they can't meet standards, maybe we need an Athens-type advisory. Lives are at stake, and it is going to be that one Achilles heel, that one gap in the security blanket that is going to result in loss of lives. That's always the way it is. We are always looking at the last war as we fight the next one, looking at the last security tragedy as we prepare for the next one, and looking for systemic solutions to the problem. I appreciate your statement. Knowing you, I know that you sit down and negotiate tough with our counterparts. Last year, Americans made 41 million trips abroad; foreign visitors made about 33.7 millions trips to the United States. Last year we had, for the first time in aviation travel, a deficit balance of payments. That is, Americans spent more traveling abroad than foreigners spent in the United States, to the tune of about $5.7 billion. There is a net gain in foreign countries from Americans traveling overseas. They travel and they spend a great deal. There is a tremendous benefit for other countries economically that they ought to be prepared to protect with appropriate security devices at airports. If they are not prepared to do that, then we ought not allow our fellow citizens unnecessarily to expose themselves to risk. Now, I define safety as “a relative absence of risk.” I think that the departments need to get that message as they sit down to negotiate with our trading partners and with our aviation trading community in the world at large. I have no tolerance for the financial argument that it is too costly for us. Our fellow citizens are spending an awful lot in other economies as they travel abroad, and if those countries don't recognize that they've got to provide security to make it attractive for