PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON AVIATION SECURITY AND TERRORISM
-- HON. WM. S. BROOMFIELD (Extension of Remarks - May 21, 1990)
- Mr. BROOMFIELD. Mr. Speaker, the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently held a hearing on the findings of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism. After the tragic loss of Pam Am 103 in 1988 over the skies of Scotland, President Bush established the Commission by Executive order and named Mrs. Ann McLaughlin, former Secretary of Labor, as Chairman. The following Commission members were also named: Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato, Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Representative James L. Oberstar, Gen. Thomas C. Richards, U.S. Air Force--retired--and former Secretary of the Navy Edward Hidalgo.
- I want to commend Mrs. McLaughlin for her excellent report. The Commission members and the professional staff also deserve our praise for their comprehensive and frank review of the deficiencies in the U.S. aviation security system. This report must not be read and forgotten. Our Government must ensure that the reports' recommendations are carefully reviewed and implemented. We owe the families of the victims of Pan Am 103 a commitment to excellence in the U.S. aviation security system.
- The victims of the terrible terrorist act came from many countries and from many States. I would like to list the names of the Michigan residents who perished in that terrible disaster:
- Lawrence Ray Bennett, Chelsea.
- James Ralph Fuller, Bloomfield Hills.
- Kenneth James Gibson, Romulus.
- Pamela Elaine Herbert, Battle Creek.
- Khalid Nazir Jaafar, Dearborn.
- Gregory Kosmowski, Milford.
- Louis Anthony Marengo, Rochester.
- Anmol, Garina, and Suruchi Rattan, Warren.
- Mary Edna Smith, Kalamazoo.
- Arva Anthony Thomas, Detroit.
- Jonathan Ryan and Lawanda Thomas, Southfield.
- I believe that I can speak for other Members in saying that Congress will do everything that it can to enhance aviation security and put an end to terrorism in the air.
- I want to share my statement from the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Commission's report with my colleagues in the Congress:
Mr. Chairman, I join you in welcoming our witnesses here today and look forward to their comments. Let me commend the President for establishing the Commission that prepared his comprehensive report. All of us owe a debt of gratitude to Ann McLaughlin, Chairman of the Commission, and its members and staff for their frank assessment of the weaknesses in the U.S. civil aviation security system. Let me also say that I look upon this report as a beginning, not an end.
This report must not be put on the shelf and forgotten. We owe the innocent victims of Pan Am 103 more than mere words and promises. The thoughtful recommendations in this study must not be ignored. We owe the families of those who perished over the skies of Scotland a commitment to excellence in aviation security. I don't want the release of this report to be a public relations event and nothing more. We owe the American travelers results and not mere fanfare. Security is a life and death matter and we must take it seriously.
We should look upon today as the beginning of the rebuilding of the American aviation security system. From the offices of the FAA to the security check points of Pan Am, it is time to be thorough and sophisticated about aviation security. Our efforts will take time, patience and funds and we must be ready to commit ourselves to the goal of making the skies safe for travelers. We must be creative in our approach to enhancing security. Our approach should include the use of available state-of-the-art detection technology to supplement existing screening techniques. We must also look at other tools in the fight against terrorists.
We must be willing to take a long, hard look at states that support international terrorism. Our air strike on Libya a few years ago produced surprising results. Qaddafi reduced his involvement in terrorism. There are times when covert action is an appropriate tool to use against terrorist-supporting states. International cooperation and the exchange of intelligence information are also critical if we are to win the battle against terrorism in the skies.
Let me commend the good work of the Scottish police and other police services in the United Kingdom for their brilliant investigative work on this tragedy and for their cooperation with our government. U.S. Government agencies involved in this painstaking investigation also contributed much to the overall investigative effort.
The citizens of Lokerbie, Scotland deserve our thanks for their caring and sensitive handling of a terrible experience for them, the victims' families and the American people.
I join the Chairman in promising to do everything possible here in Congress to help to dramatically improve the aviation security system. Today is the beginning of a security rebuilding effort. It is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
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