S. 1495, The Saracini Aviation Safety Act

June 23, 2014

The Honorable Jay Rockefeller
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Rockefeller:

As you may be are aware, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) is a strong supporter of S. 1495, The Saracini Aviation Safety Act, and appreciates your leadership on this important issue. This legislation would fulfill the promises made after the September 11th, 2001 attacks to secure our airlines by mandating secondary barriers aboard all aircraft.

In the aftermath of September 11th and as pointed out by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, those terrorist attacks were permitted to be carried out due to a "failure of imagination" among our national
security apparatus. At that point no one could imagine high‐jacking planes and using them as "weapons of mass destruction" against the American people.

In the years post‐9/11, this failure of imagination began to resurface in some sectors and among certain elected officials as they fail to comprehend the need for comprehensive security efforts, involving layered approaches, across our national security structure and especially within the airline industry.

To wit, our Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) are facing staggering budget cuts and there is talk of downsizing their force structure. Our FAMs have encountered difficulty in procuring equipment and an overall apathy to their important national security mission.

As pointed out by you and others including the FAA and TSA, a cockpit breach is still a reality since our FAMs are not staffed to cover every flight. Studies have shown that a breach could occur in as little as five seconds when the door is opened for the crew to transit. A flight attendant positioned in front of the door with a beverage cart is not the level of security the American people deserve. On 9/11/01, the flight attendants were targeted by the terrorists.

Recently, FLEOA has become aware of a video "Two seconds to Breach" which depicts a less than two second breach of a cockpit with a flight attendant and beverage cart positioned as stipulated by the airlines industry. The video is disturbing as it truly highlights how vulnerable our aircraft remain and how quickly a cockpit can be breached.

FLEOA would hope this video prompts Congress and specifically your Committee to move forward on this bill and allow S. 1495, The Saracini Aviation Safety Act, to become law to better protect the American people and fulfill the promises made after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Jon Adler