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Pan Am Failed to Heed Security Recommendations, Lawmaker Says

March 20, 1989

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Pan American World Airways is still failing to heed many anti-terrorism measures an Israeli security firm suggested to the carrier more than two years ago, a congresswoman said today.

The security consultant concluded that Pan Am conducted insufficient checks of baggage, did a poor job of questioning passengers boarding planes, and was slow to react to warnings of possible terrorist activity, Rep. Cardiss Collins, D-Ill., said in a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration.

She quoted passages from two reports KPI Inc. presented to Pan Am in September and November of 1986.

The firm had reviewed Pan Am security at nine airports, including Frankfurt and London’s Heathrow Airport. Pan Am’s Flight 103, on which a bomb exploded last Dec. 21 over Scotland, killing 270 people, originated in Frankfurt and stopped at Heathrow.

″Pan Am is highly vulnerable to most forms of terrorist attack,″ the September report said. ″The fact that no major disaster has occurred to date is merely providential.″

That report was written ″within days″ of a Sept. 6, 1986 attack on a Pan Am plane in Karachi, Pakistan, in which 18 passengers and crew members were slain, Mrs. Collins said.

She quoted the KPI report as saying: ″In conclusion, there are no adequate safeguards under the presently operating security system that would prevent a passenger from boarding a plane with explosives on his person or in his baggage, whether or not he is aware of the fact.″

In her letter to acting FAA Administrator Robert E. Whittington, Mrs. Collins, chairwoman of the House Government Operations transportation subcommittee, wrote: ″Based on its own investigation, the subcommittee has determined that many of the gaps in Pan Am’s security system that were identified in the 1986 KPI reports have not yet been corrected.″

She added that Pan Am ″insists that the security breaches identified in the KIP reports have been addressed.″

Louise Kuzma, a secretary at Pan Am’s New York headquarters, said spokesmen for the airline were at lunch and could not immediately comment on the letter.

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