Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

Posts in "Security"

October 30, 2014

‘Unruly’ Too Mild a Word For Some Airline Miscreants

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Among the other inconveniences of air travel is the risk that a fellow passenger may become abusive or violent. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Between 2007 and last year, there were over 28,000 unruly passenger incidents on board aircrafts in flight, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The number of unruly passenger incidents reported to IATA increased from 6,004 in 2011 to 8,217 last year, and that number likely understates the extent of the problem because many regional or smaller carriers are not IATA members.

The fact that behavior by passengers will now routinely be recorded on cell phone cameras by their fellow passengers seems to have no inhibiting effect on the unruly who threaten, curse, sexually abuse, spit at, hit, or kick those on board a plane with them.

Full story

October 29, 2014

Insider Threat To Aviation: More Than Terrorism

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Security experts warn about the threat posed to aviation from airport and airline employees, contractors, and vendors (Photo: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images)

“You ask an airport security manager, ‘what is your nightmare scenario, what keeps you awake at night?’ and many of them say it’s the insider threat.”

So said Philip Baum, managing director of the consulting firm Green Light LTD and editor of the trade publication Aviation Security International at an insider threat panel at this week’s aviation security conference in Washington sponsored by the International Air Transport Association.

He added, “We talk about the insider threat as if it is something new and original.” But there have been incidents in aviation security history where the insider threat became real.

Full story

October 28, 2014

Q & A: Former Federal Pipeline Regulator Brigham McCown, Part Two

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It isn’t just oil that is transported by rail: here’s a chlorine tanker car in Virginia (Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

Here is part two of our interview with Brigham McCown, the former acting head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. (Click here for part one)

From the data, is it clear that one mode of shipping oil is safer? Is it clear that pipelines are safer than rail?

Government data suggests that pipelines do have a slight advantage, but the caveat there is all modes are extremely safe and PHMSA obviously regulates vessels, rail, trucks, aircraft, as well as pipelines, the whole transportation spectrum.

Full story

‘Emerging Threats’ to Aviation or Perhaps More of the Familiar Ones?

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The 2011 Libyan revolution opened the regime’s arsenals: The remains of an explosive device on the tarmac of the Tripoli airport (Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

One message of a panel discussion on emerging threats to aviation at the International Air Transport Association’s security conference Tuesday: don’t take your eye off the familiar potential threat of an explosive being carried aboard an airplane.

That threat is combined with a fresh supply of jihadists or aspiring jihadists determined to pull off a spectacular attack.

Full story

Airlines Push Back Against ‘Data For Data’s Sake’

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Passengers wait to go through security screening at O’Hare International Airport. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

You can tell how fraught with tension the relationship between the airline industry and governments is when Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), says that after all the money that airlines spend to collect passengers’ passport and identification data, “what infuriates me” is some governments “don’t do anything with it when they’ve got it.”

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October 27, 2014

Airlines Voice Frustration On Intelligence Sharing

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Wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine on July 17. (Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images)

Spokesmen for the world’s airlines voiced frustration Monday that, three months after a surface-to-air missile destroyed a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, there still isn’t a procedure for intelligence agencies to provide timely information to them of threats to civilian aircraft.

“Let me be clear very clear about what is required: airlines need clear and accurate information on which to base operations’ decisions on where and when it is safe to fly,” said Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association for the world’s airlines, which represents more than 80 percent of global airlines.

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Clapper Identifies Airport Insiders and Ebola As Key Aviation Threats

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (Photo by Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told an aviation security conference Monday that “I’ve spent more time and energy on Ebola than most people would think a DNI would. It’s not the sort of thing we spy on, but nevertheless there are intelligence implications of Ebola as well.”

Clapper told the 23rd annual “Av Sec World” aviation security conference sponsored by the International Air Transport Association that “we’re very open to working with you to find solutions to prevent a West African epidemic from a turning into a global pandemic.”

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The Week Ahead: Aviation Security Meeting, Ebola Quarantine Debate

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will address a major aviation security conference in Washington this week. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A big aviation security conference takes place in Washington this week, sponsored by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Meanwhile, the debate on air travel and the Ebola outbreak will likely intensify as four states have split with the Obama administration by imposing their own quarantines on doctors, nurses and anyone else in direct contact with those who may be infected with Ebola.

Full story

October 23, 2014

United Airlines Sees No Ebola Effect

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United Airlines jets sit at gates at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

United Airlines bookings haven’t been affected by the Ebola outbreak, United’s chief revenue officer Jim Compton said Thursday.

He told investment analysts that the airline’s transatlantic business has “experienced several recent pressures, including Middle East unrest, the Ukrainian conflict, and more recently, concerns about Ebola” but “we have not seen any meaningful impact on bookings to date.”

Full story

October 22, 2014

Bipartisan Accord on Travel Ban? Well, Maybe

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New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

There was bipartisan accord in Tuesday night’s New Hampshire Senate debate that barring travelers from three Ebola-affected African countries is, or at least might be, necessary.

And there was bipartisan accord about the need to be bipartisan. And yet Republican candidate Scott Brown repeatedly attacked President Obama’s handling of the Ebola outbreak.

Full story

October 21, 2014

Steady Travel Industry Nerves Needed Amid Ebola Fears

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Travelers at the international arrivals terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

After a plunge in airline stock prices following the first Ebola case in the United States on Sept. 30, those stocks have recovered. Investors in the airline and the hotel industries await the next episode in the Ebola outbreak.

The industries have been understandably guarded in their comments on the outbreak.

Full story

October 20, 2014

The Week Ahead: Distracted Teen Drivers, Earnings Reports & Another Ebola Hearing

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Boeing CEO Jim McNerney will discuss his company’s third quarter earnings on Wednesday. (Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)

This week we’ll be watching the Ebola effect on commercial aviation as tighter screening proceeds at five U.S. airports and as the political debate continues over a ban on issuing visas to would-be visitors from three Ebola-affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Some earnings reports out this week will also give an indication of the health of the transportation sector.

Full story

October 16, 2014

Chief Touts FAA Competence In Recovery from Fire

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Administrator Michael Huerta of the Federal Aviation Administration (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid public concerns about the federal government’s competence in handling emergencies sparked by the Ebola outbreak, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday touted his agency’s success in recovering from the September 26 fire that disabled the air tariff control center near Chicago.

The facility, which manages the airspace over seven Midwest states, was back in full operation on Monday.

Full story

October 15, 2014

Ebola Issue Poses Campaign Opportunities And Risks

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Colorado Republican Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With Election Day 20 days away, the Ebola outbreak has become a campaign issue — on that presents as many pitfalls as opportunities.

Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican Senate candidate in Colorado, will get an opportunity Thursday to demonstrate that he’s engaged in dealing with the outbreak.  Full story

October 14, 2014

European Agency Doubts Value of Ebola Screening

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Travelers at the international arrivals terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport where new Ebola screening began Saturday. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investing time and money in examining passengers from Ebola-affected countries at five U.S. airports, our colleague Paul Jenks reports that the European counterpart to the CDC came out with a report over the weekend that questions the value of such an effort.

The European agency says entry screening “is likely to have an exceedingly low yield and represents a high investment, which may only contribute to a limited extent, to the prevention of importation of the disease.” More here….

 

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