DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson just released at statement on aviation security enhancements in light of the recent crash of a Russian airliner. The statement is posted here, followed up by my commentary.
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY JEH C. JOHNSON CONCERNING AVIATION SECURITY ENHANCEMENTS PENDING INVESTIGATION OF THE CRASH OF METROJET FLIGHT 9268
While the facts and circumstances surrounding the tragic October 31 crash of Metrojet Flight 9268 on the Sinai Peninsula are still under investigation, Transportation Security Administrator (TSA) Peter Neffenger and I, out of an abundance of caution, have identified a series of interim, precautionary enhancements to aviation security with respect to commercial flights bound for the United States from certain foreign airports in the region. While there are no direct commercial air flights from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt to the United States, these enhancements are designed to provide an additional layer of security for the traveling public, and will be undertaken in consultation with relevant foreign governments and relevant passenger and cargo airlines.
These enhancements will supplement U.S. aviation security requirements currently in place at all of foreign last-point-of-departure airports, as well as the additional security enhancements I directed last summer at certain foreign locations. Many of those enhancements have also been adopted by our European allies.
The enhancements include (i) expanded screening applied to items on aircraft, (ii) airport assessments in conjunction with our international partners, and (iii) offers of other assistance to certain foreign airports related to aviation and airport security, as well as additional measures, both seen and unseen. At this time these security enhancements are intended only for certain foreign airports in the region.
While we cannot discuss the full details of our aviation security measures, or the enhancements noted today, I want to assure the traveling public that the Department of Homeland Security is working closely with our domestic and international partners to evaluate the cause of the crash of Flight 9268, and will continue to take appropriate precautionary security measures.
As the investigation and our own review of the crash proceeds, we will continually assess our aviation security enhancements, and consider whether additional changes are appropriate. At all times, we strive to ensure the safety and security of the public, and the ability of the public to travel without unnecessary burden or delay.
It is never my intent to share any sensitive security information nor reveal vulnerabilities or information that is not already in the public domain. Therefore, these are my perspectives on the announcement without explaining the exact procedures that may be in effect, or going into effect.
(i) expanded screening applied to items on aircraft,
(ii) airport assessments in conjunction with our international partners
(iii) offers of other assistance to certain foreign airports related to aviation and airport security, as well as additional measures, both seen and unseen.
Whether this was a bomb or an accident, perhaps it will at least serve the purpose of increasing aviation security throughout the world.