21 January 2010
Yesterday, a US Senate committee with jurisdiction over held a hearing on hearing on aviation security and the recent attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 near Detroit. The hearing, titled "The State of Aviation Security - Is Our Current System Capable of Meeting the Threat?" included witness statements from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Micheal Leiter, the Director of the US National Counterterrorism Center .
This hearing is only the beginning of what the committee chair believes will be about a year-long review by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. While it isn't clear what changes, if any, will come about as a direct result of this committee's work, it will provide the public with an idea of the political and policy issues that will shape how the US government deals with current threats to the US air transportation system.
In a related development on the same day as the hearing, Erroll Southers, the candidate to head the Transportation Security Administration, one of the lead organizations in the US that deals with threats to the air transportation system, quietly withdrew his name from consideration for the post, further complicating the Obama administrations efforts to deal with potential threats to aircraft.
Press release with a summary of the hearing
Remarks by the committee chair
Webcast of the hearing
Erroll Southers interview with Foreign Policy magazine