L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa Delivers Remarks on Terror Plot
Thursday, August 10, 2006; 5:46 PM
AUGUST 10, 2006
SPEAKER: ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES
VILLARAIGOSA: Ladies and gentlemen, in the early hours of this morning, Scotland Yard, as you all know, announced the arrest of 21 individuals suspected of plotting to detonate liquid explosive devices on as many as 10 aircraft bound for the United States.
There have been no confirmed reports of a similar plot on American soil. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has raised the threat level throughout the American airline industry.
The city of Los Angeles has been in communication with the Department of Homeland Security and directly with British officials, including Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In addition, I've been in contact with Governor Schwarzenegger, who has committed the state's full support and cooperation.
I'm here with representatives of our airport and leading law enforcement agencies to ensure the public that we've initiated a complete and rapid response in the city of Los Angeles.
These events provide a clear and ominous reminder of the fight against terrorism and demands our constant vigilant. This is a long fight, but we're on the case, and we're serving notice to terrorists: We will catch you before you set foot in our airports and we will put you away for the rest of your lives.
We have no information indicating that any LAWA facilities or flights are the target of any specific threats or plots. I repeat: We have no information indicating that LAWA facilities or flights are the target of any specific threats or plots.
Los Angeles World Airports and the City of Los Angeles, nevertheless, remain committed to providing the necessary resources to maintain a high level of safety and security for the traveling public and airport workers.
Allow me to address the specific steps we're taking to ensure the safety and security of our airports.
Los Angeles Airport police are working with the Transportation Security Administration, other federal and local law enforcement agencies and airlines to implement a range of security measures appropriate to the heightened security level.
L.A. law enforcement presence at LAX includes hundreds of uniformed and plain-clothed officers from airport police, the Los Angeles Police Department, and numerous federal agencies, including the FBI, the Federal Air Marshals, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as K- 9 patrols and Special Operations units.
Our officers are on the ground and on alert. Five airlines operate 20 daily nonstop flights between London Heathrow International Airport and LAX: Air New Zealand, American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airlines.
VILLARAIGOSA: These five airlines are reporting that their flights to London are still going to depart today. We advise passengers bound for England Heathrow, and people meting arriving passengers from London, to check with their airline before coming to the airport to verify flight time.
Due to new measures instituted this morning by the TSA, all passengers are being asked not to pack any liquids in carry-on bags, including beverages, hair gels, lotions, et cetera, as well as electronic key (inaudible).
Passengers are advised to check the TSA's Internet Web site at www.tsa.gov for a complete listing of what passengers may pack in checked luggage and carry-on baggage.
Due to the heightened federal security screening, screening is taking considerably longer than normal. We recommend passengers to get to the airport two to three hours before a domestic flight and three to four hours before an international flight. This guidance will remain in effect until the threat level is reduced from orange to yellow.
While the public will notice some increased security related to operational alertness, other security measures are confidential and may go largely unnoticed by most people. These include fixed and roving vehicle checkpoints, additional uniformed and plain-clothed patrol officers, motor units and K-9 patrols.
I'm very proud of the level of cooperation and information sharing demonstrated today. I can tell you that whether it's the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the executive director in the Department of LAWA Airports or the chief of police, the fire department -- we're all working closely together.
Aug 10, 2006 17:42 ET .EOF
Source: CQ Transcriptions © 2006, Congressional Quarterly Inc., All Rights Reserved