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AVIATION SECURITY AND ANTI-TERRORISM EFFORTS
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
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SEPTEMBER 11, 1996
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman
DON YOUNG, Alaska
WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
SUSAN MOLINARI, New York
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
Y. TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
BILL BAKER, California
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBOB FRANKS, New Jersey
PETER I. BLUTE, Massachusetts
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER T. BACHUS, Alabama
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
ZACH WAMP, Tennessee
TOM LATHAM, Iowa
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
RANDY TATE, Washington
SUE KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
BILL MARTINI, New Jersey
DAN FRISA, New York
TODD TIAHRT, Kansas
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
PETE GEREN, Texas
GLENN POSHARD, Illinois
BUD CRAMER, Alabama
BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, Michigan
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
BILL K. BREWSTER, Oklahoma
KAREN McCARTHY, Missouri
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSubcommittee on Aviation
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee, Chairman
JERRY WELLER, Illinois, Vice-Chairman
WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
Y. TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
JAY KIM, California
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER T. BACHUS, Alabama
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
RANDY TATE, Washington
SUE KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
BILL MARTINI, New Jersey
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBUD CRAMER, Alabama
BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, Michigan
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
PETE GEREN, Texas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
DeLong, James C., Aviation Director, Denver International Airport, and Chairman, Airports Council International-North America, also on behalf of the American Association of Airport Executives
Magistri, Sergio, President and CEO, Invision Technologies, Inc., Foster City, CA
Meenan, John M., Vice President, Policy and Planning, Air Transport Association of America
Tomlinson, David, Head of Group Security, BAA, PLC, United Kingdom
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PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Costello, Hon. Jerry F., of Illinois
Oberstar, Hon. James L., of Minnesota
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Blitzer, Robert M
DeLong, James C
Fultz, Keith O
Meenan, John M
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Coyne, James K., President National Air Transportation Association, letter, September 11, 1996
Driscoll, Edward J., President and CEO, National Air Carrier Association, statement
Ellenbogen, S. David, President and CEO, Vivid Technologies Inc., statement
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNadler, Hon. Jerrold, a Representative in Congress from New York
Nojeim, Gregory T., Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union, statement
Weller, Hon. Jerry, a Representative in Congress from Illinois, statement
National Aviation Associations Coalition, statement
FAA News, David R. Hinson, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, statement on Aviation Security, July 18, 1996
Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Civil Aviation Security, Notice to Shippers' of Air Cargo
FAA News, FAA Statement on Increased Security Levels at U.S. Airports, July 25, 1996
Thermetics Detection, Inc., Jeffrey J. Langan, President, report on EGIS Explosives Detection System, July 25, 1996
Executive Order 13015, White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, August 22, 1996
White House Fact Sheet, The President's proposal for Counter-Terrorism Funding, September 9, 1996
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White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, Vice President Al Gore, Chairman, Initial Report to President Clinton, September 9, 1996
CRS Report for Congress, Aviation Security Legislation in the 104th Congress, J. Glen Moore, Specialist in Science and Technology, and Anthony Gonzales, Technology Information Specialist, Science Policy Research Division, November 1, 1996
FAA response to question on AIP grant for security improvements
Letters concerning Aviation Security
PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
AVIATION SECURITY AND ANTI-TERRORISM EFFORTS
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1996
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Aviation,
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The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:04 p.m. in room B18, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. DUNCAN. We'll go ahead and call the subcommittee to order.
Good afternoon, and welcome to today's hearing. The subcommittee will hear testimony today from witnesses on their views regarding the state of aviation security, the terrorist threat, and anti-terrorism efforts at airports in the United States and abroad.
We also look forward to hearing from our witnesses concerning their views on the recent Gore Commission report.
I would like to inform everyone that the subcommittee, during our markup just a few minutes ago, voted to go into a closed session, as we have been requested, to hear from our second panel of witnesses. Due to the sensitive nature of that testimony, we felt that this was necessary.
After our first panel has completed its testimony and responded to questions from the subcommittee, we will ask everyone other than those testifying on the second panel or those who have preapproved clearances to leave the room. We appreciate everyone's cooperation in this regard.
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I would like to, on behalf of the subcommittee, thank all of our witnesses for being with us today. We had originally scheduled this hearing for last Friday, but a late change in the House schedule forced us to move the hearing date, so we apologize for any inconvenience that this situation may have caused the witnesses or others.
Several of our witnesses today have again traveled very long distances to be with us today, from England and from California and Colorado, and so we certainly thank you for your patience and your extra efforts in being here today.
As a result of the TWA Flight 800 accident off the coast of Long Island on July 17th, there has been great concern regarding an increasing threat of terrorism, as well as the state of aviation security here in the United States. Although security measures have been successful against the major historical priority of deterring aircraft hijacking, the emergence of the threat of sophisticated domestic and international terrorism now requires a review of our core security activities.
I agree that our aviation security measures must be thoroughly reevaluated and carefully readjusted to meet today's terrorist threat. I also believe that we should not over-react to this threat. We should focus on the threat and determine in a measured and rational way what the best and most appropriate and most prudent responses are to help ensure that the traveling public is kept as safe as possible.
I would also like to note that Congress passed an anti-terrorism bill just this past spring which authorized over one billion additional dollars to combat terrorism. Moreover, the House this past August overwhelmingly approved an aviation security and anti-terrorism bill, which I believe several provisions were adopted by the Gore Commission.
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So I think it is fair to say that we here in the Congress have been working as hard as possible in addressing this very important and difficult issue.
I do think we need to look closely at this request for another billion dollars, because we need to make sure that this money is being spent wisely and that we're not just throwing huge amounts of money at a problem so that much of it ends up being wasted or spent in non-productive ways.
I would hope that we don't throw money at this problem and that there is significant coordination between all the Federal agencies, such as the FBI, the ATF, the CIA, the FAA, the Department of Transportation, and any other agency involved in this anti-terrorism effort.
Basically, what it sums up is that we need to be smart about this, we need to go about this in an intelligent manner, we need to implement practical and effective safeguards and not just react for the sake of reacting or with some type of show legislation.
We want to cover many important issues today, so in the interest of time I will stop here and I will now yield to the very fine ranking member of the subcommittee, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, this afternoon the subcommittee is going to meet to address the aviation security. This is a matter of tremendous importance to the members of this subcommittee and to the American public.
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I want to thank you for scheduling this timely hearing.
This hearing, as you mentioned, had originally been scheduled for last Friday and had to be postponed because of a change in the House schedule. As it works out, the postponement enabled us to receive the Gore Commission's initial report on Monday, which I am sure will be discussed at today's hearing.
Although the exact cause of the explosion of TWA Flight 800 is still under investigation, it has been widely suspected that it was a terrorist act of some kind. The tragedy has led the world to refocus its attention on aviation security.
We need to evaluate whether the aviation security baseline needs to be upgraded, and, if so, determine the most effective way of doing so. But, at the same time, we need to be conscious of the impact of increased security requirements on the cost and efficiency of our national aviation system. I believe that in most cases the benefits will outweigh the cost.
Today's witnesses will provide us with insight into many of the important issues raised by the Gore Commission and other recommendations. Among them are the availability and affordability of technology to detect explosives and the feasibility of a positive bag match for domestic flights.
I look forward to hearing this afternoon's testimony.
Mr. Chairman, I would also like to take a point of personal privilege at the present time, because I would like to note that Dara Gideos, the Subcommittee on Aviation staff assistant on the Democratic side, will be leaving this subcommittee at the end of the month to become the executive assistant to the President of the General Aviation Manufacturers' Association.
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Dara joined the committee staff in January 1994 after working in Northwest Airlines' Washington office for over 6 years, and in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing before that.
As she did when she joined us, she will bring a wealth of experience to her new position.
Dara has done an extremely good job serving on the staff of the subcommittee for the past couple of years, keeping what would likely be a rather disorganized bunch functioning as a fine-tuned machine that our subcommittee staff is.
We congratulate her and we wish her well.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much for those very appropriate remarks, Mr. Lipinski. We also would like to offer our congratulations to Dara from this side, as well.
Do we have any other statements at this time? Mr. Coble?
Mr. COBLE. No formal statement, Mr. Chairman. As you and the gentleman from Illinois have indicated, the matter of airline safety is of significant importance, and becoming more so daily. I think, from this hearing and others, we will obviously obtain additional information that will enable us to further focus on the issue, and I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for having called this meeting, this hearing.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Coble.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, in the interest of time, I ask that my statement be inserted in the record, and I thank you for calling this hearing and thank the witnesses for being here.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Costello follows:]
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much.
We're now ready to proceed with the first panel. The witnesses for the first panel are: Mr. John M. Meenan, who is the vice president for policy and planning of the Air Transport Association; Mr. James C. Delong, chairman of the Airports Council International of North America, also representing the American Association of Airport Executives; Mr. David Tomlinson, head of group security for the British Airport Authority from the United Kingdom; and Mr. Sergio Magistri, who is president and chief executive officer of InVision Technologies, Incorporated, of Foster City, California.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCertainly, gentlemen, we're honored to have all of you here with us today. I think we'll proceed with the testimony in the order in which the witnesses are listed on the agenda, and that means, Mr. Meenan, you would go first.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN M. MEENAN, VICE PRESIDENT, POLICY AND PLANNING, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA; JAMES C. DELONG, AVIATION DIRECTOR, DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AND CHAIRMAN, AIRPORTS COUNCIL INTERNATIONAL-NORTH AMERICA, ALSO ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF AIRPORT EXECUTIVES; DAVID TOMLINSON, HEAD OF GROUP SECURITY, BAA, PLC, UNITED KINGDOM; AND SERGIO MAGISTRI, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INVISION TECHNOLOGIES, INC., FOSTER CITY, CA
Mr. MEENAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I'm John Meenan, vice president of policy and planning for the Air Transport Association. On behalf of our member carriers, I want to sincerely thank you for the opportunity to appear here today.
It goes without saying that security is vitally important to everyone, and certainly for the Nation's airlines it can't be a higher priority. No one has a greater stake in the protection of our passengers than we do, and we take that responsibility very seriously.
Let me begin by briefly outlining for you some of the steps that the airlines have been taking to address the security questions which have presented themselves.
Obviously, given the open nature of this hearing, I'm not in a position to go into detail on each and every aspect of this, but I think our points will be clear. We would be pleased, of course, to cover any sensitive subjects in an appropriate setting.
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First, we've engaged in a very active dialogue with the President's recently-appointed commission. We put forward to the commission a very aggressive call and set out a 12-step proposal which we felt was responsive to the security situation which was presented. A copy of our proposed plan is attached to our written statement.
We're pleased to see that the commission very greatly endorsed the 12 steps, 12 points that we laid out for them, and, in fact, it formed much of the core of the Gore report.
Among other things that we emphasized, we believe that we must particularly redeploy our Nation's intelligence resources to better meet the demands of a changing world. This includes a particular focus on the part of the intelligence community on countering aviation terrorism.
Moreover, in our view, the Government should deploy, for comprehensive, evaluative testing, a wide variety of new screening technologies in order to best determine how to deploy them, what's most effective, and what really works in a real-world operational environment.
Our airlines are committed to working in partnership with the Government to help identify the appropriate facilities at which to make that deployment and to conducting the necessary evaluative testing. And, as I say, we believe that that is an important place to start the process.
We also want to make absolutely clear, though, that in doing that kind of testing it is vital to establish precise analytical standards against which to measure the utility of that equipment.
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In order to be effective, it's important that we find the means to focus our available and developing new technologies in an effective way, and to that end ATA believes that automated profiling of passengers must also be a central component of any future security system.
For this reason, co-equal with our commitments to facilitate the deployment of new screening technologies for testing, we also believe that the program to develop passenger profiling in an automated manner must be accelerated, and that its implementation must be undertaken as quickly as is practical.
While we don't want to get into the details with you on how profiling would function in an open setting, suffice it to say that we believe that an adaptable profiling system, which can be adjusted in an automated environment to meet an ever-changing threat, is essential to any effective security system.
In addition, we've made a number of other suggestions to the commission and certainly would be doing so here, as well, for other upgrades to airport security. This includes a call for a joint FAA and law enforcement community certification of airport screening companies and a further expansion of ongoing training and incentive programs for screening personnel.
Finally, we have strongly endorsed and suggested the establishment of serious and proportionate penalties for those who are intent on violating security of our Nation's airports.
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I would emphasize that, while this particular package of proposals was responsive to a request from the commission, the underlying work product is really nothing new. The airline industry has long been engaged at the very highest levels in mapping a strategic response to what we understand to be a changing threat environment.
We've done so quietly and without publicity, because in the final analysis we believe that playing these issues out in the public spotlight is truly antithetical to providing true security.
We're now engaged in preparing to respond to the initial Gore Commission recommendations, which go beyond the 12 points that we presented to them.
As you know, the President has indicated that these recommendations are, in fact, his policies, so we believe it's vitally important that we move out quickly to respond to these.
Two of the recommendations, in particular, demand our most immediate attention: first, the requirement for testing of a domestic positive bag match system, which is to be completed within 60 days of September 9th; and, second, the immediate requirement for criminal history background checks and fingerprinting of employees, both current and prospective, who have access to secure areas.
Both recommendations, as I say, require our immediate action, and we'll be looking for guidance from both the Administration, the commission, and Congress as to their proper implementation.
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Now, obviously we need to make the right choices if we are to provide a secure and functional aviation systemone that neither over-reacts nor under-reacts to any threat.
There is no question that, in the case of positive bag match and criminal history background checks, fundamental societal questions are also at issue. Privacy, access to transportation, continued economic growth are all serious issues which must be taken into account in any steps to respond to these suggested courses of action.
And how do we make the right choices? We believe that we must listen to and be guided by the experts. There must be a common understanding of both the threat and the full consequences of any proposed response.
We're acutely aware of views expressed in the media and by those in pursuit of a particular agenda that the airlines have ''lobbied'' against security improvements in the past. They're wrong, plain and simple.
We're pledged to Congress, to the Administration, and to the American people to work to get the facts on the table so that collectively the correct, fully-informed decisions are made as to new security measures.
There are, of course, some who think they know the answers, that positive bag match or one or another particular technology or technique is a key to a perfect security environment. With due respect, we must disagree.
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The airline industry knows that any system, whether for security or for any purpose, which relies upon a 100 percent performance of a given task, is inherently ineffective and unreliable, and we continue to urge that we avoid these kinds of quick fixes.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to comment on our view of the appropriate response to terrorism.
Some have argued that we must radically alter our aviation system to make it secure. Based upon our understanding of the threat, that is not the case. The measured and deliberate steps that we have suggested to the Gore Commission and which we've summarized for you are fully responsive to the need as we understand it.
Just as burglar bars and alarm systems are not a solution to crime, but rather one of its symptoms, we believe that undue constraints on our transportation system are no solution to terrorism. We must not give the terrorists the victory they seek; rather, we must make it a certainty that terrorism will be dealt with quickly, decisively, and severely.
On behalf of our Nation's airlines, I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to appear here today, and I would, of course, be pleased to respond to any questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Meenan.
Before we go on with the next witness, Mr. Delong, we've had several other Members who have come in, and I would like to see if anyone has an opening statement. We'll go first to Mr. Oberstar, the former chairman of this subcommittee and ranking member of the full committee. Do you have a statement?
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Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. No. I would ask unanimous consent to include my remarks in the record.
Mr. DUNCAN. Certainly.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Oberstar follows:]
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. LaHood, Mr. Ewing, or Mr. Bachus? Anybody? Mr. DeFazio?
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Mr. Delong, you may proceed then with your testimony.
Mr. DELONG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name, again, is Jim Delong. I'm director of aviation for the city and county of Denver currently, and am presently representing both the ACI, North America, as well as AAAE this afternoon.
I'd like to make four points. I would also ask, Mr. Chairman, that you enter my formal remarks into the record.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, sir. That will be done.
Mr. DELONG. Very good.
The first point would be that whatever the conclusion of this committee is and the Administration, the airports will support that 100 percent. And we say that for two reasons: one, humanitarianwe are very concerned about the safety of the traveling public, as are the airlines; and, two, economicwe recognize that if, in fact, we don't have a strong security system it could be devastating to our industry. You could see, in fact, load factors decrease dramatically, and nobody, including the community, gains from that net effect. So that's point number one.
Point two, as it relates to the Gore Commission, one item discussed was very pleasing to airport operators, and that is a recognition that no system can, in fact, be appropriate for all airports. The concept of having individual risk analysis done at each of the airports impacted is an excellent one, because every airport is different. Its financing mechanisms, the structure, itselfall of those things vary, and therefore the plans should be differentiated.
We would see the plan being developed in concert with the airlines as well as the FAA; we would see an implementation phase where we would buy the necessary equipment, install the procedures as appropriate; and then, finally, the testing concept. I think any plan that is proposed should be tested periodically from an outside agency to ensure that we've done the best job possible. So that's point number two.
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Item number three, we would ask that you be careful about what we refer to as ''unintended consequences.'' I think of Tel Aviv where you spend, on average, two-and-a-half to three hours entering the airport and finally getting to an aircraft. If airports in the United States had to do that, it would probably require an increase in space of as much as 50 to 75 percent, maybe much longer.
Remember, today the average dwell time is only 40 minutes at an airport. A three-hour stay would mean that many more people would be in the building at the same time, and you could imagine the congestion and the gridlock that would result. So we must be sensitive to the dwell time as we develop the appropriate procedures.
Number two, remember the aviation industry competes with other forms of transportation. People can drive automobiles, people can take trains, people can fly, or they can stay at home. I'll give you an example in the Houston/Dallas market. That's a 50-minute flight, it's a three-and-a-half hour drive. Needless to say, if our procedures become so cumbersome, people will elect, as often as not, to travel by automobile as opposed to fly, and that, again, would not be good from the aviation industry standpoint.
Finally, as it relates to funding of the program, we applaud the concept of Federal funding, since much of this we believe to be a Federal responsibility; however, we also see an applicability of passenger facility charges to cover capital costs associated with the improved security.
With PFCs benefiting or being of benefit not only to large airports, but, quite frankly, medium-sized and small airports, the mechanism is already in place and the process could be implemented quickly. And we also see large airports being willing, in time, to give up some portion of their entitlement funds so that the smaller airports could have sufficient dollars to execute the plan, as envisioned.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm prepared to answer questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Delong.
Mr. TOMLINSON. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to address you today on the important subject of aviation security.
My name is David Tomlinson. I am the head of group security for BAA, whose business address is 130 Wilton Road, London, England.
BAA is a public company which owns and operates seven airports in the United Kingdom, including the London airports of Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted.
In the year ending 31st of March 1996 last, over 94 million passengers used our U.K. airports, with 54 million at Heathrow and 22 million at Gatwick.
My present responsibilities cover a number of areas of aviation security and include auditing each airport's compliance with the national aviation security program determined by the United Kingdom government. They also include an examination of the security performance standards to ensure that we are meeting the highest possible standards in aviation security.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThe Department of Transport has the responsibility for determining the measures to be taken by airlines, airports, and others to minimize the risks to aircraft, airports, air navigation, installations from acts of terrorism.
BAA's mission sets up the key principles guiding the operation of the company. Within the overall goal of making BAA the most successful airport company in the world, the mission states that we will give safety and security the highest priority at all times by systematically assessing and managing our safety and security risks through audited best practice and management systems.
BAA employs about 3,400 people, about 40 percent of our total staff on aviation security-related activities. These include staff who screen passengers and their hand baggage, control access to restricted areas, and patrol the airports. The continuous improvement philosophy has been central to our approach for meeting the challenge of aviation security.
The U.K. government set its objective of securing 100 percent screening of international departing passengers' baggage soon after the Lockerbie tragedy. This objective created a very considerable challenge for our airports, as they are located on constrained sites. The main ones have a high proportion of international passengers.
We, therefore, searched for technologies which would enable us to screen all bags for explosives and identify those which would be subject to additional screening.
Security is at all times our primary consideration. Allied to this is our ability to handle a significant volume of bags at all times, and, of course, we are required to meet the requirements of the United Kingdom government.
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We are now well into the implementation phase for hold baggage screening, which is proceeding as fast as possible. All higher-risk flights, transfer, and unaccompanied bags are screened, as well as an increasing proportion of other bags.
Principal screening machines that we are using are manufactured by Vivid Technologies of Woburn, Massachusetts. We are also using other technologies, including the InVision CTX machine, and we continue to evaluate the products of other companies as they come onto the market.
Throughout this process, we and our government have worked very closely with the FAA, and their input has been extremely helpful.
The airlines have also been working closely with us in developing plans for hold baggage screening, terminal baggage systems, and have made a significant contribution to developing the solutions that have been adopted in each of our terminals.
I have briefly described our experience in developing an EDS system for screening high volumes of baggage. It should be recognized, of course, that screening hold baggage is one of a number of measures that airlines and airports are required to implement as a part of the United Kingdom government's national aviation security program.
Mr. Chairman, I'd be pleased to answer any questions that you or members of the committee may have. Could I say, however, that a number of matters associated with aviation security you may feel are more properly dealt with in a closed session.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Tomlinson. Thank you for being with us today.
Mr. MAGISTRI. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I am Sergio Magistri, the president and CEO of InVision Technologies.
Thank you for holding this hearing on this most important issue, aviation security.
InVision develops and manufactures the CTX 5000, the only FAA-certified explosives detection system today. Since the TWA tragedy, a lot of attention has been given to explosive detection system.
The FAA established standards to ensure the highest level of safety and security for the flying public. InVision has demonstrated that these standards are, indeed, achievable.
The key issues that we are currently working on are: detection, supergrade of speed, and integration of the system.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFor several years now, InVision has worked very hard to address these issues, and has demonstrated that computer tomography is the best technology for the job.
The CTX 5000 is not only available, but it works, and it works well. Today we have 20 CTX 5000 systems operating worldwide; however, there remain challenges for us in the futurechallenges for InVision and for all of us.
Airports are continuing to achieve even better performance and assure the airlines that they can operate on time.
Looking at the key issue, the first issue is speed of the system. That depends on human and technical factors, not just the machine.
The speed of the CTX has been constantly improving. In 1990, we were doing three bags per hour; in 1994, 260 bags per hour. By 1997, we will be at 400 bags per hour, and we plan to be at 600 bags per hour by 1998.
The second key issue is false alarm or, better said, operator errors. In reality, false alarms with the CTX 5000 which require opening the bag are very few. Most of the operator errors should be resolved within 10 to 20 seconds while the machine continues to screen the next bag.
The third key issue is operator training and operator certification. We have recently introduced on-board training software that monitors the performance of the operators, and we developed a full range of training tools to support instruction.
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We look forward to working closely with the airlines, FAA, and other interested parties on this very important issue because an EDS without a trained operator will not work.
The fourth and last key issue is operation integration of the machine. We must incorporate this device into airline luggage system and learn with the airline and airport how to use it, how to integrate it in the U.S.
With our overseas customers, we have learned how to integrate the CTX into their operation. Now we need to transfer this know-how to the U.S. because airports here are different.
The FAA is sponsoring EDS demonstrations in Atlanta, San Francisco, and Manila. These demonstrations are already helping to improve this integration process in the U.S.
Now, looking toward the future, we have carefully analyzed our manufacturing capability. We will be able to put to use 100 CTX by the end of 1997 and additional ramp-up is not an issue.
Over the past 6 years, with the support of the U.S. Government, InVision pioneered the development of the CTX 5000. Today we welcome the development of a viable, competitive industryan industry that is driven by two key elements: detection standards to secure the public and competition to improve performance and reduce cost.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. Chairman, on behalf of our team, the proud and dedicated employees of InVision, as well as our nine suppliers located in five States, we thank you for the opportunity of this testimony and, of course, I welcome any questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much, Dr. Magistri.
When I got here a short time ago, the first person here, I think, was Mr. Coble, and so I'm going to go call on Mr. Coble first for any questions thatMr. Coble, since you were here first, I'm going to let you go first for the questions.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I didn't hear you.
Gentlemen, thank you all for being with us.
As we go about responding to terrorism and beefing up security, it will inevitably result in additional tasks on the part of the airlines. It will result, I think, inevitably in the consumption of additional time, which is going to result in inconvenience to travelers. And you knowI say to my friend from the United Kingdomwe Americans are very impatient, but I think we're going to have to learn to adapt to this.
Having said that, let me put this question to you all, and any of you can respond to it.
The Gore Commission recommended that U.S. airlines require domestic flights to have baggage matched. Now, I assume that international flights have baggage matched nowthat is, the passengers and the baggage are matched to be sure that both board the airline.
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What sort of effect do you all think this would have on the U.S. domestic aviation market?
The reason I ask is that I can see that it willcommon sense tells me it's going to take a lot of time to do this, so what say ye to that?
Mr. MEENAN. Mr. Coble, if I might answer that, or at least try to, it will have a dramatic effect on the domestic aviation market. The domestic market is substantially different than the international market. We are, however, at the direction of the President, prepared to go ahead and implement testing of domestic baggage match as quickly as possible.
At this point at least one carrier has estimated that that might derive reductions in operations by as much as 30 percent in the full deployment of that kind of system.
You can appreciate what the impact of that might be on airports, on the economy, on the nature of transportation in the United States. Even if those estimates are wrong by a factor of 200 percent, that effect will be extremely dramatic.
Our desire at this point is to move forward with testing as rapidly as possible and determine what the real facts are. Let's get the facts on the table and make our judgments based on that, and that's what we're determined to do at this point.
Mr. COBLE. I mean, the international flights, by nature of the beast, they're going to probably have enough time to accommodate this, but that certainly would not be the case with domestic flights.
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Mr. MEENAN. Typically an international departing passenger will arrive two hours in advance of his or her flight.
Mr. COBLE. Yes.
Mr. MEENAN. In a domestic environment, as you know from trips over to National Airport, five minutes is sometimes the norm. You can't have it both ways. You can't have a bag match system and an aviation system that can accommodate you when you show up five minutes before the flight departs, at least from what we know at this point.
Now, as I say, we're determined to go forward with testing.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Chairman, will you let me know when my time expires?
One of you gentleman mentioned the three-and-a-half hour drive from Dallas to Houston and the passenger may opt for over-land travel. Having said that, let me put this question to you: the airline ticket prices currently are obviously competitive and Americans are traveling by air more than ever before. Now, when we incorporateif we do, in fact, incorporate additional safety measures, do you all have the fear that this may result in the increased price of air travel to the point of pricing some travelersmiddle-class travelers, for example, of whom I'm oneout of the market? Anybody want to comment on that?
Mr. DELONG. Two comments.
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As related to the trip from Dallas to Houston, I'd emphasize that, from a safety perspective, they'd be far better off flying than driving, statistically.
Having said that, we have two fears. One is that the increased cost in security would have a tendency to discourage or to de-stimulate the market. I think we can live with that, to be perfectly frank with you.
A greater concern is the time which we spend to provide the security. We sell one thing in our industry and that's time. When, in fact, you spend three hours, two hours, an hour-and-a-half in processing security, then other modes of transportation become more viable or, more likely than not, the travel just doesn't occur.
That's my primary concern.
Mr. COBLE. Let me put one final question to you, gentlemen.
Last month the ''Washington Times'' indicated in an article that baggage screeners at Dulles had been alerted to security tests and that such tests were ''a total joke.'' First, how do you all respond to that? Second, Mr. Tomlinson, how is this testing done in Great Britain?
Mr. TOMLINSON. The testing of the process is two-fold. The Department of Transport, as our regulator, carries out quite frequent tests on our systems to ensure that we are complying with the national aviation security program, and that includes the types of areas that you just mentioned.
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In addition to that, to ensure that we're checking and measuring our own performance as a company, we have our own internal auditing program. We actually carry out our own audit process of the way in which our airports are functioning. That's undertaken by an audit team from our corporate end of the business, so it's quite independent of the airport.
So in effect, there is a two-fold approach to this whole question of testing, and obviously we take into account very much the performance standards for our security personnel. It's an extremely important element for us.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you.
Mr. MEENAN. And, if I might respond to the first part, testing is taken extremely seriously by the carriers. And, in fact, they do far more testing of their own than is done by the FAA.
We don't tolerate that kind of activity, and when we find that has gone on we root it out. Beyond that, as I say, there is no higher priority as far as we are concerned than operating a safe and secure system.
Mr. COBLE. Gentlemen, I thank you. Mr. Chairman, I suspect my five minutes have expired, so I will yield back.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Coble.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. Lipinski?
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I'm going to yield my time to the firstMr. Costello was here first. Do you have any questions, Mr. Costello?
Mr. COSTELLO. Two quick questions, Mr. Lipinski. Thank you.
Mr. Meenan, let me just ask quickly: the Gore Commission made a wide variety of recommendations, and, without going through them point-by-point, I wonder if your organization basically supports the Gore Commission recommendations.
Mr. MEENAN. Yes, indeed, we do. In fact, many of those recommendations came primarily, or at least in our view were substantially patterned on a document that we submitted to the Gore Commission back in August. Obviously, they took it in some areas further than we had recommended, and, as I said, we are prepared to go forward with things like testing.
We need guidance on what we're to do on fingerprinting and background checks. There are many open and unanswered questions that require substantial clarification before those things can be made to work.
We think, too, as has been observed by many of the members of the committee, we have to spend smart. I mean, the reality is that you can't just throw money at this problem and expect to solve it. Some of the ideas that have been put forward may not pan out, and we have to be prepared to say, ''This one works and this one doesn't.'' We can't simply accept the fact that someone says, ''This is a good idea, and therefore we march forward and do it.''
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Mr. COSTELLO. Were there any recommendations that you made to the commission that you felt strongly about that were not incorporated in the Gore Commission's recommendations?
Mr. MEENAN. I think, in terms of the specific recommendations, our primary belief is that, before we start hardening the aviation system, we really have to focus first on what we're doing as a nation in response to the terrorist threat, and that's where we have to put our primary emphasis, not that the Gore Commission has ignored that, but much of the focus of the discussion has been specifically at what we're going to do to really move around the edges.
Where's the meat here? The meat has to be the United States dealing with terrorism. It can't be around the edges of this thing.
We certainly are prepared to deal with our portion of it, but, after all, we are just a true subset of the security equation here.
Mr. COSTELLO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.
Mr. BACHUS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Let me ask all members of the panel this: as I understand it, the types of detection systems that we presently don't have but are being used at other places in the world include advanced X-ray technology that we have at London and other places that we don't use here. We have the CAT scan, which I think your company makes advanced CAT-scan-type technology. And the other is trace technology or trace detection technology.
I'd like to ask you, of these three types of detection systems, would all of them have detected the plastic explosives used on PanAm-103, or none of them, or what would have been the likelihood that that would have been detected?
I think that's called ''flat sheet'' plastic.
Mr. MAGISTRI. I would answer in a couple of different directions.
The technologyFAA established certification standards with the purpose of finding bombs like the one that took down PanAm 103. And FAA has been successful in developing this technology by the certification standards.
I don't think that it is appropriate to speculate and in an open-door session to make the differences between differing kind of technology. All of them have positive sides and negative sides. There is only one certified, and that's the first part of the answer.
The second one is that, if I might expand on this, the drama after PanAm 103 is as we didn't provide a viable, competitive explosive detection system industry. This will, over time, develop better and better technology.
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I think that this has to be a key point of whatsoever systemic approach we take into resolving the problem.
Mr. BACHUS. Okay. Let me say this: I think maybe you're right about what we discuss here and don't discuss here, but I think maybe even a closed session with this panel might be helpful to us.
Other than flat sheet plastic explosives, are thoseis that the main concern that we have, the semtex?
Mr. MAGISTRI. I may add one comment. This is public domain. It's that FAA certification standards require a technology to find military explosives like semtex before commercial explosives like dynamite, sheet explosive, and powder explosives.
That's a value of the standards.
Mr. BACHUS. So we would aim for a detections system that could detect all of these?
Mr. MAGISTRI. I hope so.
Mr. BACHUS. Is there any consideration that the explosives may be sealed and shielded from the detection systems, or is that
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. MAGISTRI. I think that this is taken care of within the certification standards.
Mr. BACHUS. All right. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you, Mr. Bachus.
Ms. DANNER. This question is for the CEO of InVision with regard to CTX 5000.
Obviously you can tell us what explosives this machine will detect today, but what about tomorrow's science and tomorrow's inventions? One could expend a great deal of money. If memory serves me, I read that these machines are in excess of $1 million each at this point in time.
What assurance do we have that this machine is not going to be obsolete before it's even put into the airports?
Mr. MAGISTRI. Thank you for the question. The answer is the following: this technology is at the beginning of the technological curve and will grow.
Ms. DANNER. So you're saying they would have to be retrofitted, possibly?
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Mr. MAGISTRI. Exactly. Let me make an example to explain the process.
In 1993, we were in Hong Kong at the airport, and they took their special home-made explosive and they asked us, ''Can you find it?'' We didn't find it. We modemed over a couple of images to California, and the following day we added the modification to the software capable of finding these explosives.
The difference between some of the older technology designed at the end of the technological curve and computer tomography is that this technology will grow over the next 10 or 20 years, as it did in the medical application.
And the reason for that is that computer tomography collects enough data to keep growing. Some of the other technologies are data-limited.
Mr. DUNCAN. Ms. Danner, let me interrupt. I apologize, but we've got several votes. Unfortunately, this is the most number of votes we've had in a row in any hearing that we've ever had, and so we're going to have to take a break for a pretty good while here, and I apologize to you, but we'll get started back as soon as we can.
The subcommittee will be in recess.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. DUNCAN. We're going to go ahead and call the subcommittee back to order. Other Members will be coming as they have a chance to return from the vote, and I certainly apologize to all of the witnesses and everyone involved. In all the time I've been here, this is the longest that I've ever seen a subcommittee interrupted by votes, but we had several. We had, I guess, five votes all in a row and it took a while.
Mr. Delong, let me ask you this: you heard Mr. Coble ask a question about the report in the ''Washington Times'' that said that baggage screeners at Dulles Airport were alerted to security tests and that such tests were a total joke, and that's a quote from the paper. Do you think that's a common thing? Have you heard of that occurring around the country at airports, that security checks have beenor that baggage screeners or handlers have been alerted to security tests? And what do you think about that? What's your response to that?
Mr. DELONG. First, I haven't heard about that. In fact, I wasn't aware of the article that appeared in the paper.
I know that FAA has run a number of checks. I know fines have been levied, which would suggest to me that they've taken it quite seriously.
As I indicated earlier, the airports approve the concept of developing a plan locally, including the screening plan, implementing those procedures, and, most importantly, having those tested again by a Federal agency on a regular basisreferred to, I think, as the ''Red Team'' in the Gore Commission report.
We think that type of measurement is very, very important.
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Mr. DUNCAN. How often has your airport been tested for security procedures?
Mr. DELONG. Yes, we have, many times.
Mr. DUNCAN. Roughly how often?
Mr. DELONG. Appreciate we have two full-time FAA security people on the airport who are constantly going through checkpoints and trying to penetrate the perimeters of the airport. Less frequently there are teams that come in from elsewhereFAA teams that do checks both on the airline activities as well as the airport activities.
I can't tell you specific numbers.
Mr. DUNCAN. Dr. Magistri, there have been some pretty high-level reports saying that the machinery that could actually detect bombs is just not there, that, at best, you're talking about detecting not even half of what goes through.
What do you say about that? Do youis the software, is the equipment that we're coming up with, is it working? What percentage of detection do you think you have?
Mr. MAGISTRI. This is, again, a tricky question for an open door session. I will restate first that the machine has been certified by FAA, and this means a high detection level on all categories of explosives.
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And I want also to add maybe another remark, that we have about 20 machines installed currently, some of them, for example, in Israel, others in Europe, and some of them in the U.S.
My personal experience with the training, the professional capability of the operator of the machine, if I compare Israel being the leader with Europe and U.S. it goes down dramatically in the same order. Wherever the top level, Israel, does have extremely well-trained operator. Those are also well-paid. Then all over Europe we have good professionals. And, finally, in the United States we are dealing with a situation where our operators are under an extreme competitive pressure, and one of the outcomes of this is really low salaries and extremely high turn-over.
Now, my point is that to solve the problem it takes people, procedures, and technology. I think that we have the right technology, meaning the CTX. We need to put in place the other two pieces, and we are working on doing that.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Mr. Meenan, let me ask you this: in the past the airlines and your association have said that if we could have some improvements or changes or innovations made in the air traffic control system that the airlines could save a substantial amount of money. In fact, I've seen figures as high as 3.5 billion, or perhaps even more.
If we go tofirst of all, do you know what I'm talking about? Initiatives like free flight and
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Mr. MEENAN. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. maybe expanded use of the GPS, global positioning system, and things of that nature. Do you think that we could make some sort of trade-off there that would then allow the airlines to contribute a little more money for added security measures?
Mr. MEENAN. I think we're talking about some very significant changes in the nature of the aviation system. It is certainly true that we believe, with the right kinds of changes in future ATC technology, that the savings do suggest that billions of dollars will be generated. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility that that kind of money would be applied to the development of security systems, the development of other new technologies. I mean, the healthier and the more economically viable the aviation system is, the easier all these things are to accomplish.
I mean, the problem right now is that we've got to spend smart now in order to achieve those kinds of gains down the road, but certainly your fundamental suggestion is, I think, a very valid one. If we can achieve those kinds of savings, it makes monies available for all kinds of other purposes, including security.
Mr. DUNCAN. Do you see anyI guess Mr. Costello asked something like this before, but do you see anything out there in the Gore Commission report or anything that you feel is a real threat to the airlines andI mean, I've heard some people, some of the airlines, say, well, if you put too many requirements, if you put a requirement in that we had to search every piece of luggage and all this sort of stuff, that it would cause so many problems and delays it would just about shut some of the larger airlines down if you go too far.
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Mr. MEENAN. That is certainly true. I think the way the Gore Commission report presently exists, most of those things that we are most seriously concerned about are being put out for purposes of testing at this point nowpositive bag match, criminal history background checks. There is a lot of history here. There is a fair amount of at least theoretical experience with them that suggests that there are some real problems associated with those.
We are prepared to go forward, in partnership with the Government, to try to develop fundamental facts that we can put forward that everybody will agree, ''This is a fair assessment, and this is what the implications of that assessment might be.''
On the basis of that, we think that fair decisions could be made, but if we simply go charging ahead saying, ''This technology or that system is going to work,'' and not take into account the kind of information that we're hoping to develop, we're wasting our time and yours and everybody else's, and we're not going to produce a more secure system as a resultjust one that's more costly.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Tomlinson, do you havein this country we have a fairly high turn-over rate for our baggage screeners. Do you have similar problems in Great Britain?
Mr. TOMLINSON. No, we don't, in fact, in relation to our own particular company because we do recognize the importance of the security role and we do pay a rate which we feel is significantly greater than many other areas of security in the U.K., and that does, we feel, result in a fairly low turnover, reflected, of course, in the importance which we place in this role. At the end of the day, it's the most important link in the process.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Do youI know you used some of these X-ray machines. Do you also use the bomb-sniffing dogs at some of your airports?
Mr. TOMLINSON. We don't use them, but the police who are stationed at our airports certainly do use them. Yes. But very much in a specific sense for a particular issue that might arise that is reported, not as a general part of the process.
Mr. DUNCAN. Right.
Mr. TOMLINSON. Only in relation to a specific report for a particular matter.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Lipinski?
Mr. LIPINSKI. I'll give my time at the present time to Mr. DeFazio.
Mr. DEFAZIO. I thank the gentleman.
I think it was Mr. Meenan who was discussing the positive bag match for domestic passengers, and I'd just like towas that you, sir?
Mr. MEENAN. Yes, it was.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. DEFAZIO. All right. Discuss that a little bit. And we'll probably be talking about that in the closed session with Mr. Hinson. I mean, I'm just curious what your views are on who the unfortunate people are who might be chosen for the test. Has there been anyone who wants to volunteer to be the choke point on American aviation?
Mr. MEENAN. We are currently working with all of our member carriers to try to determine exactly that. It's obviously of concern to all of them. At this point I think they are all open to participating in that test.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Yes.
Mr. MEENAN. As you know, we just saw the report on Monday and it's a little early to give you a definitive answer, but that certainly is our intention, because the only way you can really validly assess this, in our view, is to get a fully vigorous test program in place and see what happens.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Yes. I mean, I just think that the volumes and the changes in schedule we're talking aboutI mean, I had an incident recently where I was on a United flight which was having mechanical problems, so I was going to miss my connection, so they switched me to another United flight. I got to the other United flight, that one was also having mechanical problems, so they sent me back to the first United flight. I got back to the first United flight, they decided they had resolved the mechanical problems, but then they said the plane couldn't leave because it was a continuing flight that was international and someone else who they had sent away to get to another flight hadn't come back, and so his bag was on the plane and he wasn't so, they were going to spend two or three hours pulling all the bags out and everyone should expect to be delayed two or three hours. But then finally he came back and the plane left, only about an hour-and-a-half late.
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Just the practicality of that in domestic travel, I mean, versus the point-to-point international travel it just seems like there has got to be another solution to deal with that problem.
Mr. MEENAN. We believe that designing a test will be a formidable undertaking in and of itself, and certainly deploying it on a full-scale basis is even more daunting, but if the Gore Commission recommendation, as the President has said, is going to be the policy of the United States, we're there in full partnership with the
Mr. DEFAZIO. Well, how does it become policy? Does it have to be an administrative rule-making, or how would it become a policy?
Mr. MEENAN. I think at this point, in terms of being directed to perform a test, if the President tells the airlines that he wants them to do it, then, in effect, that's what has occurred. We're certainly not going to say no.
We would certainly welcome substantial additional guidance from Congress and we will need additional guidance from the Administration, but things such as ''What do you do with a misconnected bag? What constitutes valid treatment of that type of baggage for testing purposes?''there are a whole range of questions that are going to be very complicated to get worked out, but we are prepared to embark on that quickly.
As the report indicates, that test is to be done within 60 days, and we're making efforts
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Mr. DEFAZIO. Well, if they really feel that the threat level is that high and at that level of necessity, I would suggest that the industry and the FAA may want to amp up and move a little more quickly along the lines of looking at the bomb-resistant cargo containers. I think it would be less ultimately less disruptive. I thought that was a good suggestion coming out of Lockerbie. I regret that the FAA has sort of drug their feet on that. We'll also be discussing that.
I realize there is a cost involved and it is one that would most likely be born by the airlines, but I think there is some possibility or promise there with results of some of the tests I read recently.
If we assess that there is a domestic threat, I just don't think the positive bag match is going to work.
Anyway, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I don't have any other questions at this time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Lipinski?
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Meenan, when you're working on that bag match, make sure you don't forget about O'Hare International Airport.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. MEENAN. It's always nice to hear from satisfied customers.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Yes. I realize that this report has only come out recently, but ATA has been working on it for a long period of time. Do you have any estimates of what it might cost the airline industry if the bag match was tested at a place such as O'Hare International Airport?
Mr. MEENAN. At this point, quite honestly, no. I mean, the best estimate we've got is really a fairly informal one done by one carrier that concludes
Mr. LIPINSKI. Is that American Airlines?
Mr. MEENAN. I really would
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, it was in the newspaper.
Mr. MEENAN. I don't believe that it was American Airlines, but what they have said was, based on the history of the patterns at its hub airports, that ''X'' number of people are not going to be on a given airplane, and they know that as a result, because they got off to make a phone call, because they are in the bar, or wherever they are.
Just assuming that, we'd have to pull so many bags off of every airplane. That's going to cause rolling delays in the system, and that, combined with the other pieces of putting together a bag match program, suggests reduction in operations would ultimately be on the order of 30 percent.
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Now, they are the first to say that's probablymay very well be high. This is a back-of-the-envelope, and some more detail to it than that. But even if it's 10 percent, even if it means no growth, it is still a very significant decision to be made by the United States, and it's something that we think the only way to really get the facts on the table, if that's the direction that we're being directed to pursue, the only way to do that is to do testing, and that's the point that we're
Mr. LIPINSKI. But, talking about testingand I believe it was American Airlines, and I believe it was Bob Crandall. At least there was something in a paper today about 30 percent at American Airlines and Bob Crandall and the Gore task force. I may not have read it thoroughly, but all those things popped together in my mind.
But if you are going to go into a bag match and you really want to test it, as much as I hate to say this, the place probably to test it to seeif you're going to just test it at one airport, probably the place to test it to see what impact it really would have would, unfortunately, be a place like O'Hare International Airport, with the tremendous volume of traffic. If you want to really see what the effect is going to be, that's probably where you would put it in place.
Mr. MEENAN. That is certainly a possibility. The other thing, of course, is that there are many different styles of operation in the airline industry, and it would be necessary, too, to test in all of those. I mean, there are some carriers that are relatively low tech when it comes to their baggage systems. They're going to need one kind of system. There are other carriers who run a shuttle-type operation, which is a very different kind of arrangement. There are otherthere are going to be a wide variety of different circumstances that have to be taken into account. All carriers are not operating from the same sheet of paper. They're very different companies.
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So to get a real feel for whether or not this will work and what the implications might be, I think it has to be a fairly broad test, and that is certainly the direction the airlines are moving in right now because that's the direction we've been told to move.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Is it your impression or your understanding that whatever extra costs are incurred because of the bag test will be handled by the airlines, themselves?
Mr. MEENAN. And by their passengers. The inconvenience is going to bewe will obviously be doing everything in our power
Mr. LIPINSKI. I realize the inconvenience will be handled by the passengers, but you just told me that the extra cost is going to be handled by the passengers, too, which I can understand.
Mr. MEENAN. Ultimately, everything we do is going, one way or another, to have to be calculated into what is charged for the service. Unfortunately, the airlines don't always recover the full cost of doing business, but
Mr. LIPINSKI. This increased security is either going to cost the American flying public more money or the American taxpayers more money, one or the other.
Mr. MEENAN. Well, our view at this point is that there are a number of open questions there. Certainly, from the perspective of the airlines, countering aviation terrorism in our estimation is a responsibility of the Federal Government, and we believe, therefore, that the general taxpayer is the appropriate source of those funds.
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Now, there are many variations on that. Obviously the carriers do expect to continue to play a very important role in this, and they will pick up those certain costs, as well, but there is a lot of balance that has to be struck, a lot of exploration that has to be done.
Mr. LIPINSKI. And I don't see how it can be done in a 60-day period of time. I think there are too many unanswered questions. I don't see how you can put something like this into operation and really expect to get honest results out of it.
My time is limited, so I want to move on.
Professor, your CTX 5000 machine is being tested at the present time, to the best of my knowledge, at three locations: in San Francisco, in Atlanta, and in Manila, correct?
Mr. MAGISTRI. That's correct.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Can you tell me how many bags you're putting through an hour at each one of those locations at the present time?
Mr. MAGISTRI. Yes. In San Francisco we are running from 8:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon. The average throughput on a normal day measured by us is 120 bags per hour, and we reach peak throughput of 200 bags per hour.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. LIPINSKI. Two hundred?
Mr. MAGISTRI. Yes, 200.
Mr. LIPINSKI. And how long do you run at peak?
Mr. MAGISTRI. The peak may be as short as 10 minutes. The thing that I want to point out, two key points: of course, the throughput of such a device is a matter of how many bags you can supply to the device. And in San Francisco, particularly, the machine is dealing with four or six checking positions for seven hours only per day.
The situation in Atlanta I think is similar.
I don't have yet data for Manila because the machine was installedtwo machines were installed 1 week ago and we are not yet in operation.
Mr. LIPINSKI. You say the figures for Atlanta are approximately the same as for San Francisco?
Mr. MAGISTRI. Are similar.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Similar. So it'syou average 120 bags an hour; you have gotten up to where you've done 200 bags, but that was only for about a 10-minute period of time?
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. MAGISTRI. Correct.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Tomlinson, you mentioned that you don't have the turn-over in security personnel at your airports that we have in this country, and we run 300 to 400 percent. You say that you pay your security personnel more money than we pay ours here.
I made mention of this to a number of people in the aviation industry in regards to increasing the salaries of the security scanners, and they maintain that they don't believe that increasing the salary would really be that beneficial as far as holding onto these personnel; that the principal problem is that the job is so repetitive and that there is really no clear promotional track for these employees.
I was wondering if there is anything else that you do in Great Britain besides pay them more money to keep the turn-over rate as low as apparently it is.
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes. If I could just clarify one point, my point was not in comparison with the rates that are paid in the United States because I'm not familiar with that; it's the rates in comparison to those in other areas of the security industry, generally, in the United Kingdom.
One of the other points that is particularly important to us, of course, is that people will not necessarily remain in a security function. There are opportunities to move into other areas of the business, and people frequently do. They will progress to a management position within security and then have an opportunity to move into terminal management or any other area of the business, or may come back into security in a more senior position, so it's not a question of people being locked in solely to a security function in a relatively low-key post, so to speak. There are lots of opportunities in all areas of the business. We're keen to stress that point. It's not seen as a single position for an indefinite period.
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Mr. LIPINSKI. Can you tell me what you pay a starting security scanner in Great Britain?
Mr. TOMLINSON. It would depend on the type of role and the responsibility and the amount of service that a person had, but a figure would be perhaps between 18,000 pounds up to 24,000 or 26,000 pounds, and the opportunity, of course, for overtime on top of that.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Now, 18,000 pounds translates into Yankee dollars at about $25,000?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, roughly. Roughly.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate all the time you gave me.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all a comment, which you may respond to if you wish, and then specific questions.
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There has been a lot of emphasis on baggage handling here, and I agree if you screen baggage more carefully you can detect more explosives.
I don't think the result, however, would be the one that people expectnamely, that there would be less chance of a terrorist getting explosive on the plane. It just means that they would find a different means of doing it.
I can easilyand I won't divulge it here, but I can easily devise six different methods of getting explosives on an airline which are at least as easy, if not easier, than getting them on through the baggage handling equipment.
I think we ought to be realistic and face that possibility.
If any of you care to respond to that, fine; if not, I will go into some questions. Yes?
Mr. MEENAN. Very briefly, that is another element of both the Gore report and what has been ongoing for some time, and that's the wholesale review of airport security. I think Mr. Delong mentioned earlier that the Gore Commission has recommended that we go out and test at individual airports the security system and determine what upgrades can be effectively put into place.
The issue here again comes down to what's the most productive way to spend money. We have seen in the past at a number of airports suggestions for improved securityfancy fences and other devices that, in the final analysis, are very expensive and probably don't produce an awful lot, and we think there will necessarily be guidance that has to be put forward by the Government as to what kind of expenditures here make the most sense, where the most productive expenditures can be put into play.
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Mr. EHLERS. Right. As I say, I don't want to give any ideas to anyone who might read about them in the media as to ways you can get on, but I'm sure I can devise at least a half dozen that would be far more effective than baggage.
I do have a couple of specific questions for Mr. Magistri, and that is: Is your system basically a CT system? I'm wondering if you and your company have ever looked at other options or whether you know of anyone else who has? For example, X-ray analysis, not in the CT sense, but rather in looking at the emission spectrum of atoms which are excited by the X-rays going in, and each compound would have a specific signature or neutron activation or neutron scattering. These are other options that you could pursue.
Has anyone looked at these options, or are they so far below the realm of deductibility that they are really not profitable to pursue?
Mr. MAGISTRI. I will make available my knowledge about the industry overall.
X-ray crystallography has been looked at and may have a good potential for alarm resolution, but as far as I understand, not good enough or not fast enough for doing real explosive detection.
Mr. EHLERS. I'm not talking so much about X-ray diffraction, which is what you're referring to with crystallography. I'm talking about X-ray excitation of atoms and looking at the emission spectrum of the resulting dropping down of the energy levels.
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Mr. MAGISTRI. The different nuclear excitation technology, like TNA and some of the new ones, are being researched. I think to date I am not aware of any publication that would let us think that the short-term utilization in the field is possible, but they are promising on the medium-term.
Mr. EHLERS. All right. I'm just curious. Being a physicist, that's where I would start, because you've got a unique signature out of it. Yours still looks at the shape of things.
Mr. MAGISTRI. Ours looks at density, shape, homogeneity, and similar parameters.
Mr. EHLERS. Right. But not at the chemical composition.
Mr. MAGISTRI. Correct.
Mr. EHLERS. And if you get something that looks at the chemical composition, it's very easy to identify explosives by the signature that they would display.
Mr. MAGISTRI. Right.
Mr. EHLERS. But, of course, the signal intensity is far less.
Mr. MAGISTRI. Yes.
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Mr. EHLERS. Any other comments from any panel members?
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Ehlers.
Mr. CRAMER. Mr. Chairman, just a couple of questions, if I can pick back up on where Mr. Ehlers was, if I understood where he was, I want to see if I can get some of the panel members or any of the panel members to compare and contrast what is produced by the hand-held sniffers versus the CAT scan technology, differentiated between the two, or is there a difference?
Mr. MAGISTRI. I will take this again with my kind of disclaimer that some of these issues are difficult to discuss in an open-door session.
The CAT scan approach has been certified back in 1994 by FAA and has an extremely high detection rate for all categories of explosives.
The vapor technology, as far as I know, can find some element of all the category of explosives, may be rather slow. I saw, myself, a demonstration, or I went through one of these machines once in Hong Kong, and it took about one minute to clear my bag.
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Technically speaking, it is a complementary technology to some of the faster approaches like X-ray. It is an autogonal technology.
I think that's how far I can go in an open-door session.
Mr. CRAMER. All right.
Mr. MAGISTRI. Maybe the question would be or could be why such technology has not sought FAA certification.
Mr. CRAMER. All right.
Mr. Tomlinson, at your airports do you use any of the CAT scan technology?
Mr. TOMLINSON. In an open session I'd be reluctant to talk about the types of technology in place at our airports and operational.
Mr. CRAMER. All right. But you've used the hand-held sniffers for how long?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Just over 2 years.
Mr. CRAMER. All right. Thank you.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThat's all I have, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Cramer.
Mr. GEREN. I have no questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Ms. Danner?
Ms. DANNER. I do have questions.
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.
Ms. DANNER. Back to the CTX 5000, which you can see I'm very interested in as, indeed, my particular airport has a very unique design and I had them checkwe have 32 metal detectors at Kansas City because we have three separate terminals. I'm a little surprised it's as low as 32. I'm going to check that.
Did I understand you to say that at present time the CTX 5000 is throughputting 120 bags per hour?
Mr. MAGISTRI. That's correct. This is the average in San Francisco over a seven-hour operation per day. The peak is around 200 bags per hour.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMs. DANNER. Okay. Now, I'm lookingand the pages aren't numbered, so I can't tell you where I'm getting my information in your book, but it says here that you were certified with a throughput of 260 bags in 1994.
Mr. MAGISTRI. Correct.
Ms. DANNER. But you haven't achieved that 2 years later? Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding the use of the verb ''certify.''
Mr. MAGISTRI. Not at all. You understand it perfectly. The machine was certified at 260 bags per hour. Operational throughput may be different than certification throughput, first.
Second point, the throughput, as we measure in San Francisco, depends also on how fast we are supplying bags to the machine. If you look down, the machine will not be, for hours and hours, will not be scanning bags, or scanning only one bag per minute, because there are not enough people checking in, because the machine isonly six checking positions.
Ms. DANNER. Then
Mr. MAGISTRI. I think this is a fair statement that, everything said and done, the machine in an operational situation will average throughput somewhere in the range from 100 up to 200 bags per hour, depending on local logistical constraint.
Ms. DANNER. Okay. On another page it shows moving up to 600 bags in 2 years, so all of these are really projected, and you only projected for 199798you're showing that you do 260 bags in 1996.
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So let me hypothesize. If we had one of these at O'Hare, as someone has suggested, a very busy airport, would we assume we would do 260 an hour, or would we do 120 an hour? How many would we do if bags were, on a constant basis, coming through? How many would we do per hour?
Mr. MAGISTRI. I think, not knowing the detail of the O'Hare installation, I would assume that we would be doing 200 bags per hourassuming that we have enough supply of bags.
Ms. DANNER. Okay. So if we're doing 200 bags an hour, then maybe what we see here in the product information is maybe, because this is dated September 6 of this year, this is maybe overly optimistic?
Mr. MAGISTRI. I'm sorry? Say again?
Ms. DANNER. Is perhaps the projection here of 260 bags per hour in 1996, which is almost over and behind us, is that perhaps overly optimistic?
Mr. MAGISTRI. No. My projectionI don't know to what document you are referringis that this machine will come up to around 400 bags per hour next year, and this is whyalready in progress.
Ms. DANNER. Very well. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Ms. Danner.
Mr. Meenan, the Gore Commission has made a recommendation, and ATA I think supports it, and you've mentioned it earlier, but it's this profiling recommendation. Yet, I'm sure you realize that there are some people or groups that have expressed some civil liberty concerns, some privacy concerns, and other potential objections.
Do you think the state of the art is such that a good profiling system can be devised that will take care of those objections and concerns?
Mr. MEENAN. We believe fundamentally the answer to that question is yes. Now, the fact is that if, as a country, we are deciding that security has reached the point where we have to take certain measures that we might prefer not to take, these may be open questions.
But right now the system that we are looking at I do not believe in any way implicates the civil liberties issues.
Now, as that is adjusted and developed over time those may become factors that we have to take into account, but that's the kind of issues that have been put on the table, and we're certainly prepared to try to deal with them.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Tomlinson, do you use profiling in Great Britain?
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. TOMLINSON. We do, but the responsibility is primarily that of the airlines rather than the airport. They are responsible for the profiling process, which is undertaken at the check-in stage.
Mr. DUNCAN. You know that here it's not been fully determined as to how we're going to pay for all this. How do you pay for all of your security measures in your country?
Mr. TOMLINSON. A security process is a rather complex formula, and if I can simplify it, perhaps, the initial responsibility for the equipment and the security is with the airport operator, ourselves. We, in turn, are entitled to recharge 95 percent of that cost to the airline. We must do it in accordance with terms that satisfy our regulator that it's a fair and proper cost.
The airline, in turn, of course charges that on to the traveling public, at largethe airline passenger.
The remaining 5 percent remains as our responsibility.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Delong, has the FAA sat down and met with you concerning the security threat at the Denver Airport? Have they told you there is a security threat, or do they keep you pretty much fully informed of all that's going on in that regard?
I believe you said you had two full-time FAA security people there? Is that correct?
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Mr. DELONG. That's correct. It would be difficult to say whether they've kept me completely informed and my staff completely informed. We meet periodicallyrecently as often as once a week. They tell us what they can. I'm sure some information is classified and is not released.
But, generally speaking, we're quite pleased and satisfied.
Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Oberstar?
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank all of the witnesses for their contribution today, and especially our witness from the United Kingdom, who made a trip last week and then came back this week to share his ideas with us.
The Gore Commission is proposing criminal background checks for airport and airline employees who have access to the air side of airports. This is not a new idea. It was included in the 1990 Aviation Security Act, which required 10-year criminal background checks.
The proposed rule-making, which admittedly in its initial stage, went perhaps beyond what was necessary to accomplish the law, stirred up a great deal of controversy. Airlines vigorously lobbied against it and succeeded in blocking the rule-making in 1992 and subsequent appropriation bills, but now it's being resurrected.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWhat are your views, as airport operators, as airlines, on extensive criminal background checks, going back 10 years, for all current as well as future airport and airline employees who have access to the air side of the airport?
Mr. MEENAN. I would be happy to start.
In general terms, Mr. Oberstar, as you know, we believe that criminal history background checks are of perhaps not the greatest utility in terms of improving security.
The fact of the matter is that if you look at terrorist incidents in the United States, very few of those people would have been identified as a result of criminal history check.
We believe that a better and more effective and efficient way of approaching it has been through doing employment record checks and then keying off of gaps in an employment record check to do a criminal history background check, if necessary.
If, however, the Government
Mr. OBERSTAR. I recall very well the former FBI director, William Webster, coming into my office to make that appeal, but, frankly, if you're looking to do the best job possible and plugging potential loopholes and gaps, that's one you need to plug.
Mr. MEENAN. Except that I would submit that the best job possible requires us to spend as smartly as we can, and rather than doing an expensive criminal history background check for 500,000 airline employees who have extensive work records, who have been good employees for five, 10, 15 years, isn't that a better validation of the bona fides of those people?
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The fact is, if we're looking to identify terrorists, we have to spend our money where we're most likely to find terrorists, and the fact is that if you look at the terrorists who blew up the World Trade Center, would they have been identified through a criminal history background check? We don't think so.
In a perfect world, spending money on all these projects would be a perfect idea, but we
Mr. OBERSTAR. Forgive me, but you sound like a general fighting the last war.
Mr. MEENAN. With all due respect, we're trying to find the most effective ways to spend the money.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I understand that, and we've had this debate extensively, and I lost once on this issue.
Mr. MEENAN. We certainlyI would like to
Mr. OBERSTAR. You marshalled the votes.
Mr. MEENAN. We really
Mr. OBERSTAR. And we lost once on that issue, but we're in the business of fighting the next war, and there maythere was no effort made to find the least-expensive way and the most-effective way of accomplishing those background check initiatives.
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Mr. MEENAN. One thing we would like to do, and we have suggested to the Gore Commission and will be pursuing, is that an efficient way of approaching this might be by giving us access to the NCIC system for prospective new employees. A quick determination can be made on the basis of that system as to the advisability of employment.
We don't have that access right now. That's a much different system, though, than going back into the criminal history record system and running fingerprints on people. That, I think, is a moreand we are more than willing to engage in that dialogue. We think that's a very viable avenue to be pursued.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you.
Mr. MEENAN. If I may
Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, let me ask Mr. Delong, because we've consumed a good deal of time and we've got your position on this pretty clear.
Mr. MEENAN. Thank you.
Mr. DELONG. It's my understanding the Gore Commission has proposed that the FBI do the background checks, which would, from a financial perspective, relieve us of some of the cost implications.
Frankly, we discovered a correlation between employees that don't have a history of crime and better performance across the spectrum, so, with certain reservations, we would say I think it's appropriate.
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As I said in my opening remarks, security is probably the most important thing as it relates to airport operators, and whatever it takes we're going to do.
We have, by the way, some 25,000 employees badged, a number of which we routinely do background 5-year checks to ensure that their criminal history is clean.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Tomlinson, I understand that you have a different system in the U.K. Could you describe that for us?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Yes, we do, indeed. In fact, it's part of the requirement which is imposed on us by legislation that we do coordinate the carrying out of background checks in relation to anybody who has access to the sensitive parts of the air side, what effectively, of course, is the air side parts of the airport.
Currently we do not carry out criminal record checks, but we anticipate the government will change that position quite soon because there has been some pressure because it's seen as an important aspect where security must obviously be paramount. We understand that the government will shortly be establishing an agency specifically to undertake that kind of work in security areasnot just airports, but obviously our interest is particular airports.
The other area of concern that is of particular interest to usand at the moment the police carry out these checks rather than ourselvesis not necessarily those people who have a criminal record, but those people who are likely to be sympathetic to terrorism who are actually workers at airports that may actually be engaged in gathering information that may be of use to terrorists. That's obviously a very sensitive area, and the whole question of civil liberties has been paramount, I'm sure, in the government consideration.
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I think that decision has been taken that security, at the end of the day, is the most important factor. I think generally people accept it.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Chairman, if I may, one further question about passenger bag match and profiling. I don't like to pursue this matter very deeply because it can provide information that the enemy may be looking for, but we will have some 550 million to 600 million boardings in the course of this year, depending on how the economy goes and how things happen the rest of this year.
That's not 500 million people; that's probably 25 or 30 million people making an average of 10 flights or so, 30 or 40 million people making an average of 10 flights or moresome, like us Members of Congress, traveling many more times than that.
When you whittle the number down to the number of actual passengers enplaning and the internal computer reservation systems that airlines have, plus the CRS commercialized systemsWorld Span, Sabre, and United's system name escapes me at the momentit would seem to me to be ableyou have probably 70 percent of all travelers in those computer reservation systems, and it would be a relatively low-cost process to profile them and the leisure traveler, as well.
How much should we rely on profiling and how much of an additional cost is this likely to impose on air travel?
Mr. MEENAN. Again, in an open hearing obviously our remarks have to be fairly guarded, but we believe that to be a very effective system and we are advocating strongly that that kind of profiling be enhanced and hopefully deployed as quickly as is practicable.
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At this point, though, I think, in terms of getting a response to how effective it is, I would urge either another forum or for you to pursue it with the law enforcement and intelligence community authorities with whom those systems are being builtand these are not being built by the airlines without that sort of expert advice.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Tomlinson, I think the British system does not rely on profiling?
Mr. TOMLINSON. Profiling is an important part of the security process, but certainly in terms of hold baggage screening, which is, I think, what we're talking about primarily at this stage, the objective and the compliance requirement on us as airport operators is still, at the end of the day, 100 percent hold baggage screening. That's the objective.
Profiling is important, and there are obviously different levels of screening where profiling can obviously assist. At the end of the day the objective is very clear as far as the U.K. government is concerned. It will be 100 percent hold baggage screening.
Mr. OBERSTAR. And your 100 percent screening has not resulted in significant delays? You've been able to adjust your technology, your movement of people and bags so that you can keep the airport flowing smoothly?
Mr. TOMLINSON. I think, in a general sense, that would be a fair comment. And perhaps it would be better if the traveling public were here to answer that point, in general.
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And I say that certainly the time scales that have been mentioned earlier on today are not quite matched with the time scales that have been discussed in United States. There are significant differences because of the whole process.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I'd like to compliment BAA on your third terminal at Heathrow, which is a model for airport security. When Mr. Delong was at Philadelphia, he was borrowing some of the ideas that were put into practice at terminal three at Heathrow for the new international operations at Philadelphia. I want to compliment you on the splendid accomplishments at that facility.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just to clarify my earlier comments, I made the comment that there are many other ways to get explosives on an airplane. As a matter of fact, the problem is not so much the one it used to be, where you're worried about the mentally unstable people; today we're worried about terrorists, and I'm convinced any determined terrorist will find a way to get explosives on a plane if they wish.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCUnfortunately, they choose this because it's very high-profile. They can use explosives other places and cause greater loss of life, but probably not as spectacular loss of life.
I didn't want to leave this on such a negative note. I have to, as I frequently do, point out that air travel is by far the safest mode of transportation today in any sense whatsoever, and even if terrorists do decide to target airplanesit's not at all proven that the TWA case was a terrorist incidentit still remains by far the safest mode of travel.
I think we are needlessly frightening the public by all our fixation on terrorism and explosions and so forth and we're losing site of the fact that it's still the best and safest way to travel, and I think we have to say that often to the public and reassure them that not only are we doing everything to prevent such acts, but, in fact, we have the safest system of transportation in the world right here in the United States, and we should all recognize that.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Ehlers.
With that comment, we'll move on to the second panel.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming here and giving us this helpful and informative testimony.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAs everyone knows, we voted earlier, at the request of some of the security agencies, to close the second panel, so we will ask everyone to leave the room at this time other than the Members and the witnesses for the next panel. The cameras will have to leave, and so forth.
We'll be in recess.
[Whereupon, at 4:43 p.m., the subcommittee proceeded in closed session.]