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America's New War: Airline Security

Aired September 27, 2001 - 05:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: The president is making another effort today to help Americans return to some sense of normalcy following the terrorist attacks. Hoping to get travelers in the skies, Mr. Bush will unveil a series of proposals to improve airline security.

CNN's senior White House correspondent John King has a look -- an advance look at this plan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More layoffs in the airline industry have the president in an urgent mood. Sources tell CNN the White House is asking Congress to pass new airport and airline security measures by the end of next week.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This terrible incident has said to many Americans -- convinced many Americans to stay at home, and one of the keys to economic recovery is going to be the vitality of the airline industry.

KING: Administration and congressional sources say the president wants action in three major areas.

Airport security screening: The president opposes a full federal takeover of airport security checkpoints, but favors federal standards, training and testing for security workers and an increased federal law enforcement presence at those checkpoints.

Air marshals: Mr. Bush wants marshals on most, if not all, flights for now and will borrow agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Immigration and Naturalization Service while full-time marshals are hired and trained.

Cockpit security: The president firmly opposes a proposal to allow pilots to carry handguns, but he backs security bars and other immediate cockpit security measures until new fortified cockpit doors can be installed.

Sources say installing cockpit cameras with a live feed back to ground control is another administration recommendation. And airport workers with access to planes and baggage will face new background checks and new security tests, perhaps a fingerprint scan.

CHARLES SLEPIAN, AVIATION SECURITY EXPERT: We need to know the people who service the airplane, the people who supply the airplane, the people who have access to it. We need to put in place the kind of technology which now exists.

KING: Training of sky marshals is under way at an urgent pace, and a role for the National Guard is on the table too. Many in Congress believe a strong uniformed security presence will help calm passenger jitters.

(on camera): The president will unveil his plan in a speech to airline workers in Chicago. He will fly there, as always, aboard Air Force One, but his transportation secretary will take a commercial flight, a symbolic gesture designed to convince the American people the skies are safe again.

John King, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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