Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS
CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS


CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

New Security Measures Do Little for Confidence

Aired September 27, 2001 - 17:08   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: I want to talk about the airlines. President Bush on the road today to Chicago telling Americans to get back on board. To the White House and Kelly Wallace watching this and the new measures again, aimed today at security. Kelly, hello to you.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello there to you, Bill. A difficult challenge for the president, because on the same day he is trying to encourage Americans to feel safe flying again, as Joie reported right at the top, we learn that President Bush has given the order to senior military officers to shoot down commercial airliners without his approval but only as a last resort.

We also learned that the FAA is issuing new guidelines to pilots. If they enter restricted airspace they could be intercepted by military aircraft. Administration officials say this an example of the different times we live in, the different world.

Mr. Bush was trying to encourage Americans to feel comfortable getting back on planes during these different times. As you noted, Bill, he headed to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. He got a rousing reception, many people carrying American flags, the president's message was "get on a plane and get back to business!" But he also presented and unveiled a series of new proposals to improve airline security. Those proposals include one immediate measure.

The president is asking governors in all 50 states to call up the National Guard and have national guardsmen staff security checkpoints at all airports around the country. He also wants $500 million to bolster cockpit doors, make them stronger and more secure. He is also calling for the federal government to take over the airport security and screening processes, basically federal standards and training and background checks for security workers.

And he wants to dramatically expand the federal air marshal program. Basically, the goal is to have armed federal marshals on most flights around the country. The president saying this should reassure passengers, but should also serve as a deterrent to any potential terrorists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Americans fly there needs to be more highly skilled and fully equipped officers of law flying alongside them. Now these marshals of course will wear plain clothes. They are going to be -- they will be like any other passenger, but Americans will know that there is more of them and our crews will know there is more of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Now, Democrats, Republicans, both very supportive of improving airline security, but already some Democrats in the House and Senate telling my colleague, Capitol Hill correspondent Kate Snow, they don't think the president is going far enough. They would like to see president have all airport security workers be federal employees. That is something they are going to push for. Back to you, Bill.

HEMMER: All of it takes time and a little bit of money too. Kelly, quickly, some members of the Cabinet flying commercial tomorrow. More symbolism there?

WALLACE: Very much so. There is a little symbolism today. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta didn't fly on Air Force One. The president noted as he started his remarks, that the secretary flew via United commercially, and nine cabinet secretaries will do the same tomorrow again. The message is it is safe to get back on the airlines, and that is a big message the White House wants -- give a boost to the struggling airline industry -- Bill.

HEMMER: That is the message indeed. Kelly Wallace, thanks at the White House.

Is that message getting through? Let's go to San Francisco and check in CNN's Rusty Dornin for reaction to travelers there -- Rusty, hello.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bill, at the San Francisco International Airport it is still eerily quiet at the counters and has been for the past few hours. Most of the planes taking off from here are half empty. About 50 percent down in passengers on all flights leaving from this airport.

Now the airport officials are now projecting an $85 million shortfall in their budget this year as a result. Here with us to talk a little bit about the ups and downs, and knows about the ups and downs of the San Francisco airport, he has been here for 42 years, Ron Wilson, director of public affairs.

Ron, we heard about the president. People here seem to be applauding his efforts to bolster security. What is it going to take to get people back in this airport, back on the planes?

RON WILSON, SAN FRANCISCO DIR. PUB. AFFAIRS: It is going to take confidence in the air traffic system, confidence in the airlines, confidence in airplane, knowing that they can get on that aircraft and be safe, and get to their destinations safely.

And I think the additional presence of the National Guard, and other officers, U.S. customs, sky marshals, border patrol, all of them operating here at airport, their presence, gives a little bit more confidence to most passengers that feel a bit safer about flying.

DORNIN: So how long does that take, though, to get give people enough confidence to begin coming back, resuming their flying patterns?

WILSON: I think in this situation it is going to take longer than it ever has with any other situation we have experienced with terrorist acts against the U.S. even in our own country or abroad. The image of that airplane flying into the side of World Trade Center is just embedded in the minds and brains of people, and they reflect on that.

And it is going to take a while to subdue that. So it is not going to be over night, it is not going to be a couple of weeks. I'm hopeful that by Christmas we'll see somewhat of a dramatic recovery, I'm hopeful.

DORNIN: I think most visible thing we are going to see right off the bat are the National Guard soldiers, armed soldiers in U.S. airports, something we are not used to seeing. Some people are a little nervous about that. What do you think in long term the effect will be?

WILSON: I don't know that they would be employed here forever. But certainly in the immediate future they will. There are two ways of dealing with their deployment. One is at the security checkpoints to monitor what's going on there, having more eyes and ears. The other is to roam the terminals as our police officers do to supplement them and add to their patrols. So I -- I think that is going to be helpful.

DORNIN: Again, your budget shortfall here, $85 million, that is huge. It will have a powerful impact as well on San Francisco, even, right?

WILSON: Absolutely. absolutely. It is going to mean dramatic cuts, deferrals of projects, our capital improvement program literally has come to a stop. Unless it is dealing with security and safety at this airport, all the projects have been stopped. And I mean we are even getting down to the point of toilet paper in the restrooms that we are not going order beyond a month's supply of things like that.

DORNIN: Ron Wilson, thank you very much. San Francisco International Airport, talking about hopefully, this will resume people's confidence in flying. A little later today Governor Gray Davis is expected to come to the airport and talk about the plans for the National Guard's presence here at the airport.

HEMMER: All right, Rusty. Rusty Dornin in San Francisco.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top