No to pat-down searches


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Former Air Zimbabwe chief executive Peter Chikumba said airline bosses were not likely to support the move by the United States to have 100 percent pat-down searches for passengers.

The United States had ordered stricter searches following the attempted bombing of flight NW 253.

Northwest Airlines flight 253, an international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, was the target of a failed al-Qaeda bombing attempt on Christmas Day, 2009. There were 290 people on board the aircraft.

The bomber was 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had concealed plastic explosives in his underwear but failed to detonate them properly.

Chikumba was briefing a United States embassy official after he had been invited to an International Air Transport Association meeting in Geneva to discuss security challenges following the attempted bombing of flight NW 253.

Chikumba, an aircraft engineer with 30 years airline experience with Air Zimbabwe, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Namibia and IATA, said stricter US security standards were not the problem, rather the problem was that current international standards inadequately addressed US concerns.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 10HARARE33, IATA MEETING WITH SEC NAPOLITANO

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

10HARARE33

2010-01-21 06:07

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXYZ0000

PP RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHSB #0033 0210607

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 210607Z JAN 10

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5319

INFO RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2535

RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC//TIG//

RUEAORC/US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PRO WASHINGTON DC

RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS HARARE 000033

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

EEB/TRA

JOHANNESBURG FOR RCO K. MAY

TREASURY FOR D. PETERS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: EAIR ATRN ECON PTER PREL ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: IATA MEETING WITH SEC NAPOLITANO

 

1. (SBU) Air Zimbabwe CEO Dr. Peter Chikumba requested a meeting

with conoff on January 20 to relay his agenda in advance of a

planned meeting at the International Air Transport Association’s

(IATA) offices in Geneva on January 22 with DHS Secretary

Napolitano. Chikumba, an aircraft engineer with 30 years of airline

experience with Air Zimbabwe, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Namibia, and

IATA, was invited by IATA Director General Bisignani to participate

as an African representative in a meeting between airline CEOs and

Secretary Napolitano to discuss the security challenges arising out

of the December 25 attempted bombing of flight NW 253.

 

2. (SBU) Foremost, Chikumba will stress the global, international

scale of the issues. In his opinion, passenger pre-screening and

air transport security are international issues that require

stronger international standards. He said security issues affect

all flights, not just those originating or departing from the U.S.,

and that he would support any effort to bolster ICAO regulations and

IATA standards/practices. He emphasized that stricter U.S. security

standards were not the problem, rather the problem was that current

international standards inadequately addressed U.S. concerns.

 

3. (SBU) Chikumba remarked that the world must cease its practice of

having different security practices for international, vice

domestic, flights. He said air travel had become so intertwined and

international in nature that it no longer made sense to have two

separate security standards. He said he would support formulation

of a single set of standards that covered both international and

domestic flights. In addition, he called on international adoption

of a passenger pre-screening tool, such as the Advanced Passenger

Information System (APIS).

 

4. (SBU) Although Chikumba voiced support for more robust

international security standards; he also voiced the need for

additional funding. He commented that the airlines did not have the

resources to fund and operate effective security screening systems;

rather, security screening should be the responsibility of

individual (national) civil aviation authorities. He called on

aviation leaders (read U.S.) to lead the funding for more robust

international processes and standards.

 

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Secretary Napolitano can expect flak from airline

CEOs in regards to the U.S. emergency orders that arose following NW

253. In particular, Chikumba mentioned that many CEOs felt they

could not support 100 percent pat-down searches over a long-term

period. That said, Chikumba’s remarks reflect an international

recognition of the global issues involved and an opportunity for the

U.S. to press for tighter international screening standards and

increased sharing of passenger data. END COMMENT.

 

RAY

 

(24 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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