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Public Papers - 1989

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism


The President has announced his intention to form a Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism to review and evaluate policy options in connection with aviation security, with particular emphasis on the destruction, on December 21, 1988, of Pan Am Flight 103. He has complimented the efforts of Majority Leader Mitchell and Republican Leader Dole, and their staffs, on their work with families of the victims and with the administration in the creation of this commission.

The Commission's terms of reference call for a comprehensive study and appraisal of practices and policy options with respect to preventing terrorist acts involving aviation security; an evaluation of the adequacy of existing procedures for aviation security, including compliance and enforcement; and consideration of options for handling terrorist threats. In addition, the Commission will make recommendations regarding policies and laws concerning the families of victims of terrorist acts. Ongoing, intensive investigations into all aspects of the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 will not be affected by the Commission's work; rather, the Commission will focus on the need for additional measures to improve aviation security.

The Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism will be independent, have access to all information it needs to perform its functions, and report to the President within 6 months of its formation. In the event the Commission's report contains classified portions, a report for public distribution shall also be prepared. The Commission will have seven members. Four members will represent both parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives and will be appointed in consultation with congressional leadership.

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