Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 18 - Evidence (8:00 a.m. session) (in camera)
TORONTO, Monday, June 24, 2002
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met in camera this day at 8:00 a.m. to examine
and report on the need for a national security policy for Canada.
Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, this is a newly constituted meeting of the committee. I will first, start by
introducing the members of the committee to our witnesses. On my immediate right is the deputy chair, Senator
Forrestall; beside him, Senator Banks, from Alberta; beside him, Senator Wiebe, from Saskatchewan; and beside him,
Senator Atkins, from Ontario. Senator Meighen is outside and will be here shortly. Senator LaPierre, from Ontario, is
beside him. This is Senator Day, from New Brunswick and to my immediate left is Senator Cordy.
Before us today we have Witness 1, Witness 2 and Witness 3. I advise all three of you that you are protected by
statute here. Whatever you say is privileged and no one can take legal action against you as a result of what you say
before us here today.
Also, by agreement, we have undertaken to have this meeting in camera. Therefore, the committee will not make
reference to you or attribute to you anything that we hear from you today privately or publicly. What we will do, and
what our understanding is and what I would like you to confirm for us, is that the purpose of this meeting is to assist
the members of the committee in formulating questions and in asking questions of other witnesses. The purpose of this
meeting is to give us such background information as we may subsequently use in the formulation of questions.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, I have spoken to the witnesses prior to this and they are comfortable with
being sworn in. They understand that it is no reflection on them as individuals, but it does give us the opportunity
subsequently to refer to having heard sworn testimony on that basis. I would then ask the clerk to proceed with the
(Witness number 2, sworn)
(Witness number 1, sworn)
(Witness number 3, sworn)
The Chairman: The witnesses all having been sworn in, I would proceed with the meeting.
First of all, welcome. Thank you very much for coming. We are pleased to have you here before us and are pleased
to have the opportunity to get a perspective of Pearson airport that we might not otherwise get.
The committee, as you are aware, has been encountering some difficulties in getting a good description of the type of
security that exists at the airport. Perhaps the best way to start would be if we had each of you give us a brief comment
on how you perceive the security at the airport and then we will continue with some questions.
Witness 2, perhaps you could commence.
Witness 2: First, I would like to congratulate the committee on the initiative in starting this examination. It is a huge
problem. We all experience it in different ways, some as travellers, others as operators. It is not being addressed in the
country in a way that really gives much comfort that there is much impetus for a solution.
The Chairman: Witness 2, could you first qualify yourself? Could you give the committee a bit of background on
Witness 2: I have an extensive background in aviation as a commercial aircraft operator and as a pilot. Indeed, I
came to the interest in this whole security area because of this active involvement. I am on several boards of several
aircraft companies and own an operation based at Pearson. As a result I am very familiar with the airport.
Like everyone else on September 11, last year, my company, watched with absolute horror at what was happening.
We have many millions U.S. worth of hardware in a hangar that, like most others is unguarded and with minimal
security controls. Most of the people in most hangars are not badged. The most common response throughout the field
to September 11 was to send employees home to be with their families. I instead put my employees on a 24-hour shift
for two days. The reason wasn't fear of terrorism, but because terrorism had given relief to the lax the security was at
the airport. Any consequence associated with such poor controls was instantly in the ``foreseeable'' category, and so
theft or other damage would be arguably our liability. As the airport emptied its regular employees, a lot of people
were hanging around that day who had no right to be there at all. I believe I am correct in saying that some things were
stolen on the field. My concern was that frankly we had to meet a new standard of care that required far better control
over access security and that standard was in place the instant the first aircraft hit the first tower in New York. From
that instant, we had to make sure that we policed the areas around the airplanes and protected them. The duty of care
had in short shifted dramatically and permanently upwards.
The next thing I did was I appealed to the people to my left and right to come and give us a quick audit of what it
might take to make our area of the airport secure and to tell us just how bad the problem was. The result of that visit
was really quite frightening. It was clear that what had to be done was to build the system from the ground up. It
piqued all of our curiosity as to whether this was a general experience at other areas of Pearson, and whether what was
happening at Pearson could be generally extrapolated throughout other airports in North America. The answer to
both questions was, regrettably, unequivocally ``yes.'' The problems that we have had in our end of Pearson are general
throughout the airport. Pearson's problems are common to all major airports in North America.
It comes down to a simple question, which is: ``At any given moment, in any airport anywhere in North America,
and most especially this one, is it the case that there are vehicles and individuals who are not tracked, not known, and
not searched on the field?'' If the answer to that is ``yes,'' then we have a very big problem which covers all dimensions
of airport security from theft to contraband to sabotage and terrorism. Two hundred grams of Semtex will destroy a
747 completely. 200 grams is a package you can put into an envelope. If you attach a barometric detonator to it, and
you throw it into the hold of an airplane, the airplane will be destroyed, chances are over a major city and carrying a
full fuel load.
There are a range of targets of opportunity and strategies that we know might be of interest to terrorists. These are
all ``mights.'' But the reality behind these mights are well-organized and determined people — determined to create as
much havoc as possible. We are looking at huge strategic stakes that I tried to outline in the paper I provided. It is a
huge problem. It is much more than terrorists killing people directly — it is about effectively destroying a key element
of transportation infrastructure of this economy. If that happens, the consequences are simply massive. Regrettably,
after 9-11 we know people are thinking about this in strategic terms. For the airports, this goes well beyond the era of
random terrorism in the name of various political causes, which we have all had to live with from time to time. Airports
and airplanes were derivative targets then. Now they are the target. People are systematically, effectively making war
on us and destroying key strategic elements of our way of life is a basic part of the exercise. That being the case, we
have to ante up solutions which are capable of meeting a very focussed and strategic threat presented by intelligent,
well-prepared and dedicated enemies. Regrettably, the reality is that no one knows how to do it. The reality is that it is
simply not being done.
Witness 3: My background is in law enforcement. I have 28 years of police service, of which 22 were in the drug
section. I ran the major crime drug squad for a Canadian Police force dealing with international drug trafficking and
money laundering, and everything else that is derived from that.
When I left the police service I opened a security consulting company. From there, I became involved in the back
field of the airport and corporately with a lot of companies doing due diligence on their employees and what falls from
Since looking at the back field of the airport, we made recommendations to incorporate an elaborate digital security
system, including biometrics that has been received very well. Since then, dealing with various persons in law
enforcement, corporate entities around Toronto Pearson, we have discovered that Canada's major airline, Air Canada,
and the human resources department, when law enforcement comes to it and asks to do an undercover operation in
one of its facilities, they are flatly refused by human resources.
These projects are endeavours to concentrate on organized crime working within Air Canada and are meant to weed
out the Hell's Angels who are working at Air Canada Cargo, meant to weed out Mafia and organized crime, which are
networked throughout the airport. This is well-documented on RCMP files out of ``O'' Division, Peel Regional Police
and Toronto Police Intelligence Bureau, Office of Special Investigations. When proposals are put forward to infiltrate
these groups, they are stonewalled.
The Chairman: Are you saying than when the RCM Police and Peel Regional Police come to Air Canada and ask for
their cooperation in investigating organized crime groups, like the Hell's Angels or other organized crime
organizations, Air Canada says ``no''?
Witness 3: No.
The Chairman: ``We will not assist you?''
Witness 3: ``We will not permit you to go through human resources process to infiltrate the union.''
Senator Cordy: Is this the company?
Witness 3: This is Air Canada.
Senator Cordy: So this is not union policy.
Witness 3: It is the company.
Senator LaPierre: Is there any way to force them by law?
Witness 3: You still have to deal with the union issue and go through HR to be an employee of Air Canada. You
cannot circumvent that or flags go off. You do not walk in and say, ``Hi I'm Joe, I'm just the new guy working here.''
Senator Banks: Do they give a reason? Is that reason the difficulty that they would face having to do with labour the
law that is involved? Is that the reason?
Witness 3: No, it is not, it is not entirely.
Senator Forrestall: When you ask for Air Canada's cooperation, what —
Witness 3: The endeavour was to place a person for a long term, working in the workforce in the cargo.
Senator Forrestall: I understand.
Witness 3: What happens is that a 747 lands on the tarmac, somebody in an organization in Columbia or Italy has
put something in the avionics bay. A lot of times the group will tell this person, ``You go, take this out of the avionics
bay, you drive out, take it on the tarmac, give it to someone, change the baggage tags, throw it over the fence, give it to
someone.'' They are being stonewalled for those reasons.
What I have brought the committee is a recent publication called The Merger, written by Jeffrey Robinson. This is a
well-researched book. It identifies the traits and strategic alliances that have been made between organized crime,
terrorism and money laundering groups. I want to present it to the committee and hopefully somebody will —
The Chairman: We will provide it to the clerk. Is that what you had to say, sir.
Witness 3: For now.
Witness 1: I am a former intelligence supervisor with a Police Service. I spent my career primarily involved in
organized crime and drug investigations with a great deal of involvement at Toronto Pearson Airport.
As Witness 2 mentioned, after September 11 we had a meeting, around September 13, at Pearson airport. One of the
most troubling things that I noticed upon arrival out there was a fuel truck fully loaded that was idling with no one in
it. There it was inside the north perimeter gates and had full access to the airport runways. There was a jumbo jet in the
process of landing when we were out there. It was so apparent with the lack of security in the airport that that would be
an absolutely easy target for anyone with an intent to disrupt air traffic.
The system is also, in a lot of ways, dictated by the existence of the buildings that have been there for 50 years. If
there was a tragedy inside the hangars, there are sometimes no sprinkler systems. It has been grandfathered. Obvious
concerns if there was a fire or an explosion inside the hangars.
In terms of what Witness 3 was saying about organized crime and the airport, in law enforcement circles it has been
known forever. If you can get something into Pearson, it can be taken out of there. The method to do that is to
infiltrate the workforce. I have had investigations where, in the first instance, there were 350 kilos of hash and in the
second instance 1600 kilos of hash flown into Pearson from a source country. Once it was in there, the baggage
handlers who had been corrupted were able to get that cargo that came in from an international flight. The tags were
switched as if it came in on a domestic flight. The individuals left the airport, returned the following day and, as
everybody is aware, no one will check your baggage from a domestic flight. What they had done at that point, then, is
they had corrupted an airport official. They would take the property, pay whatever duty and taxes and so forth, and
they had also forged government customs stamps. They had the entire network, but the key to it was having someone
on the inside that had that capability. Again, it has been my experience to try and initiate an investigation at the airport
is like a sacred field that cannot be violated.
We have also had involvement at the ports. The Hell's Angels have located in Vancouver, Halifax and they are
down in the Niagara region now. They want to also control the port and the port accesses.
In Vancouver, it is common knowledge that with the containers, if the longshoremen do not get a piece of the
action, your container will be separated for special attention. It will be examined and it will delay the process of your
container being put on there.
The Chairman: We have limited time, Witness 1. We are familiar to some extent with the Port of Vancouver and our
report in February reports on that quite extensively. It is consistent with what you have said so far. If you could
confine yourself to Pearson, that would be helpful.
Witness 1: In terms of Pearson, to try and initiate, to try to place an undercover operator inside the workforce is
almost impossible and is something that needs to be done.
Senator Day: For a point of information, is this the Toronto Airport Authority as well as Air Canada? Earlier on we
had heard that it was Air Canada that has not cooperating.
Witness 1: We had a great deal of cooperation with the airport authority with investigators, but it was Air Canada
primarily that said there were prohibitions about putting in an undercover investigator into the work force. It has to be
facilitated through human resources, as Witness 3 said.
Senator Day: It was primarily Air Canada, is what you are saying; is that correct?
Witness 1: Yes, primarily.
Senator Day: Do you have any knowledge as to whether other airlines cooperate or the Greater Toronto Airport
Authority? I would think you would need some cooperation there as well.
Witness 1: Air Canada was the primary one that was kind of a stumbling block in terms of progressing through an
investigation to that stage where you needed someone on sight in the workforce at the loading ramps.
Senator Day: Your answer is that Air Canada is the only one you have any knowledge of?
Witness 1: Yes.
Senator Banks: Is the GTAA generally cooperative in these matters?
Witness 1: The investigators from Transport Canada were cooperative. The investigators from the various federal
narcotics investigation and intervention at the airport were very cooperative. But it was, again, the airline itself.
Senator Banks: Do you ever need to infiltrate other airlines other than Air Canada? Do you need to infiltrate people
into the work force of the GTAA?
Witness 1: You need to infiltrate people who have access to the aircraft, such as the food handlers, people who work
Senator Banks: Are you able to do that with other than Air Canada?
Witness 1: To a certain extent, yes.
Senator Banks: Are you talking, in respect of Air Canada's reticence to do this, about 1, 5 or 100 instances?
Witness 1: Several that I have been involved with.
Senator Banks: The person that you convicted, you said you found a person in management?
Witness 1: Yes.
Senator Banks: What was the conviction for?
Witness 1: There were five people involved. One of them worked for a company that dealt with customs brokerage
at the airport. At the end of the day, all five were charged with conspiring to import narcotics and several related
offences. It took five years. We ended up in the court of appeal and the charges were stayed. All five individuals had the
charges stayed in the court of appeal after five years.
Senator Banks: None were convicted.
Witness 1: Right.
Senator Banks: Did any of those persons work for the GTAA?
Witness 1: Not for the GTAA. Not at the time of the investigation. Two had prior histories of work at the GTA.
Internal working mechanisms at the airport.
Senator Banks: Are you of the opinion that Pearson International, in particular baggage handling for Air Canada
and other airlines, has been infiltrated by organized crime?
Witness 1: One hundred per cent.
Senator Forrestall: Is Hudson General active at Pearson?
Witness 3: They were very active here.
Senator Forrestall: They had a close association or allegations have been made that they had been infiltrated at an
effective level by the Hell's Angels. Do you have any information with respect to that at Pearson?
Witness 1: The Hell's Angels have established a presence, either themselves or puppet gangs, in the various cargo
areas around Pearson. They know what is coming in on those cargo canisters. They have arrangements with tractor-
trailers, the canisters are gone and it is selective theft.
Senator Forrestall: I must say that you make the Port of Montreal look like a kindergarten class.
The Chairman: I have a list of six. There were three points I wanted to cover. First was access to air side. Can you
comment briefly on what sort of access people have to air side, what sort of checks take place, not just generally
around the airport? Do workers coming through have their bags checked? Are they searched like passengers? Could
you comment on that for us first, briefly?
Witness 2: The general answer is that most of the vehicles and most of the individuals are not checked. The very
most that you could expect is that there might be a visual identification of the person with a picture, at the very most.
In actual fact, the way the system works at Pearson, where badging is required — and there are many areas where
badging is not required — but where it is required it is done mostly on the basis of a voluntary challenge system. In
other words, I have one of these. I have a duty, if I see someone on the field and I am wondering why they are there,
because they have done something suspicious or whatever reason, I am entitled to ask what they are doing there and
they are obliged to give me an answer.
This voluntary system has been in place for years and years. It is not uncommon, again, at airports. It does not
work. It is completely ineffective. Moreover, in regard to the badge, I have a badge that was renewed about six months
ago or less. There is no particular data that would be difficult to counterfeit at all.
The Chairman: Could you pass that around for the committee?
Witness 2: They are starting to introduce holographic data, but that is not really helpful, because you have to get
close to it to see that the holograph is there.
The Chairman: Witness 2, we will have a witness from Transport Canada later this morning who will say to us that
every person entering Pearson airport is required to have a badge issued to them by the Greater Toronto Airport
Authority. They will come in with a badge and card keys that will give them access to certain specific areas. The person
at the gate who is dealing with them will check them for their badge number to see whether or not that matches with
the list of inactive badges that have been withdrawn. That person is going to tell us that that happens every time
someone enters Pearson airport for whatever reason.
Witness 2: The comment itself really makes the point that has to be made right at the top. The airport is much more
than just the gates at the terminals. That is just the beginning. The public focus is totally on the terminals, because
September 11 involved people going through the terminals, through the gates, on to airplanes. But the airport is a huge
operation. They could tighten the gate controls and I believe they have tightened some of the controls in the manner
you described. They may well today check the list of badges that are no longer in place against the numbers. I suspect
that is not quite as often as you described. I have trouble believing they do that 100 per cent the time. I do not doubt
that periodically they do that. However, whatever is done at the gates does not catch or address the real scope of the
problem. The problem is that there are trucks, cars and individuals in the thousands flowing into the ramp areas just in
order to service the airplanes. These people are nominally badged people, but if you think that all the vehicles or
badges are checked, you would be wrong. If someone comes from Transport Canada and says that is the case, it is not
More than that, people have access to the ramps that do not go through the same control areas. If you look at a map
of the airport, what you see are very large buildings adjacent to the ramps, almost adjacent to the runways, often
adjacent to the taxiways. They include freight forwarders, operations like my own, aircraft refurbishers and
maintenance shops and the people who do all the line provisioning. Many of those buildings with direct ramp access
are filled with people who are not screened or badged, who have no security credentials at all. In some cases, there are
exceptions. My people are all badged, for example. I work in the hangar with others who are not badged. They have
direct access to aircraft. There is no control and no background screening of any sort.
If you only look just at the terminals, there is one set of security issues and you will hear answers that sound rather
tight. It may sound like they are doing things — investing in equipment, writing procedure books —, albeit of limited
effectiveness — but at least they are doing something. The fact is, again, gates in terminals do not ensure controlled
access to the air side, access to airplanes and indeed risk.
The Chairman: When Transport Canada is giving a general briefing on the airports say that the fixed-base
operations are not part of the regular airport and are fenced off from the regular airport and for people to move from
fixed-base operations to the active part of the airport, they have to go through a check area. Not only is the area fenced
off, but to move from the fixed-base area to where the active runways are. You have to go through a fence and there is
a person posted at a guard house who checks each pass to see whether it has an active number.
Witness 2: There is a sort of Alice-in-Wonderland quality here. The airport managers might describe it as ``100 per
cent secure, but, by the way, we do not define the airport in common sense terms. We define it as this little area right in
the middle and forget about the rest. On that basis, can't you see? We do not have a problem at all.'' I am exaggerating,
but they make this reference to a large part of the north end as not being ``airside.'' I do not know what the hell it is
that I walk over every day when I walk to an airplane on the ramp if it isn't the airside. It is a ramp and it gives me
access. Indeed, I take my personal airplane frequently down the ramp, down the taxiway and no one comes over to me
and says, ``Excuse me, we want to see your badge,'' Like everybody who sometimes departs from the so-called
``northside'', I am directly on the runways without a challenge ever coming from anybody.
Since we are talking about the north end, I would also point out that the north end is not just a number fixed-base
operators operating corporate jets and light airplanes. It also houses Skyservice airliners, for example, and Transat
airplanes and others. They are all regularly up on the north end, in addition to being in the midfield of the airport.
What we are definitely not talking about is a unique area reserved unto itself around which you can afford to have
lax procedures. Moreover, to continue to talk about the northend as a weak link, while true, still puts the emphasis on
the wrong syllable. There are plenty of weak links, and some are even weaker still. In actual fact, you only have to walk
down the street from where the northside operators are to find some of the freight forwarders. Employees of the freight
forwards do not need to go past a policeman to get themselves or dangerous substances or devices onto the main
runways or under the terminals.
Such persons, if they are intent on doing harm to us, might simply insert an envelope with dangerous substances or a
small device into a parcel, which goes right into a container which goes into the hold of an Air Canada airplane
If we are talking about the level of risk here, if we have to assume, and regrettably we do, that all manner of things
may happen to us inspired by well developed plans by terrorists, at this or other airports, once one begins to talk about
it in that context, it quickly morphs into an entirely unique situation from anything we have seen to date. What you
have to guard against are virtually any point of uncontrolled access to a logistics chain that ends up in areas where the
public is at risk, in airplanes, terminals, what have you. That logistics chain extends way out to the periphery of the
field and involves thousands who are not badged whose credentials are not checked and who, in fact, have direct access
simply by means of having access to the vehicles and the containers, the food trays, the fuel, etc. that go into airplanes.
The Chairman: The answer that the committee anticipates receiving from Transport Canada is that an aircraft
leaving from the fixed-base area, if it is going to take off, may not be searched and will just take off because it is flying
to someplace else. However, if the aircraft, such as Transat that you refer to, is going over to take on passengers at
Terminal 3, for example, it will be thoroughly searched first and will only be taken over to the other side of the airport
once security people have determined that the aircraft is secure.
Witness 2: I will make a prediction that Transport Canada will come in here and say, ``There is a problem at the
north field, we must admit that. There is a problem at the north field. It is a bit laxer than anywhere else. It is the one
area of weakness. We are going to address that. We have a big plan. People at Skyservice, World, Execaire and
Piedmont Hawthorne are starting to spend a bunch of money on security. We will all try and deal with this issue.''
If you buy that, you have bought the wrong point. In actual fact, again, that is the least of it. They do need to
tighten the northend up, but this is not a problem of corporate aviation. It is not a problem of the north field. It is, in
fact, again a case where the emphasis is being placed on the wrong syllable. The problem is that virtually every
functional activity attached to the airfield from the four points of the compass gives people direct aircraft access, and
the north field is the least of it. Try the freight forwarders, the catering people or the line service people. You must
consider a range of activities that is very broad. This is not a north field problem; this is a problem with the south field,
the terminals, underneath the terminals, in the hangars, in the customs areas, the brokerage houses adjacent to the
centre section of the field and in the centre section itself, where you have Skyservice Corporate and corporate aircraft
operators as well as the myriad of activities around the main terminal ramp areas. All of us have some security controls
or are about to have them, but the controls we are thinking of putting in place are not going to address the risks that we
are talking about today.
They may use the north field as a diversion. It is like the dye running in Madras shirts: You cannot solve the
problem, so you advertise that the dye runs, and you sell it on that basis. That is what Transport Canada might say,
``Oh, no, we know there is a problem, we are dealing with it.'' They may hope that you will not focus on where the
problems actually reside, where the big risks reside and that is in other areas of the field. They may hope you will not
recognize that airport security can never be stronger than its weakest link. Once you do, then you will have opened up a
world of worry that involves the entire airport.
The Chairman: Before I go back to the list, could any of you comment on organized crime and whether it was active
and, if so, where is it active at Pearson?
Witness 1: Organized crime is active at Pearson in primarily the air cargo areas, where the individuals appear to
know exactly what is coming in at various times in what containers. They have the wherewithal and the infrastructure
to have trucks come in and remove something as big as an air can from supposedly secure facilities. They already have
the distribution network in place out on the street to get rid of the products.
The Chairman: Could they do it in the opposite direction?
Witness 1: Yes, they can.
The Chairman: How do you know that?
Witness 1: I know that from personal experience. Once they have access, as Witness 2 mentioned, all the supporting
companies and all the supporting networks to supply planes, either with food, water or fuel, it is a two-way street. If
you access to remove things from the plane, you have access to put things back on the plane.
The Chairman: Do you have any comments, Witness 3?
Witness 3: Yes, organized crime is very active, running stuff both into and out of the country. They have infiltrated
catering services, people who work on the avionics of the aircraft or the baggage handlers, et cetera.
The Chairman: What evidence do you have of this?
Witness 3: There is wiretap evidence available to this committee through various law enforcement agencies. They
have done extensive surveillance, physical and electronic on this.
The Chairman: What forces are these?
Witness 3: RCMP, Toronto Police, OPP, Peel, everyone has a vast knowledge of that. Probably the man who would
know the most of what is going on at the airport with smuggling, et cetera, would be Staff Sergeant Bill Matheson of
the detachment here.
The Chairman: Of the RCM Police?
Witness 3: Of the RCMP police. He is well-versed on the subject.
Senator Meighen: Are any of you gentlemen, or all of you gentlemen, aware of what checks for criminal
backgrounds are performed, if any, on employees of any of the various service providers at the airport?
Witness 2: For the most part, again, most are not screened, including employees of Field, Maxwell Aerospace, most
freight forwarders and other employees. Most of the people employed in the freight forwarding operations, and they
number in the thousands, are paid in many cases minimum wage and none of them are screened.
Senator Meighen: They are neither screened nor badged, as I understand it.
Witness 2: Many are neither screened nor badged. The only people that are badged are people who have access to
GTAA airport facilities, either terminals or main ramps. It is by their definition of what ``access'' is that controls who is
The Chairman: Connect the links for us. I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean when you say, ``someone
working at the field'' doing what is not badged and is not checked. Why is that a risk to the airport?
Witness 2: Let us start with a very simple proposition. Anyone with direct access to an aircraft or a ramp area where
there are such things as fuel trucks or to the logistics training, catering, fuel, line maintenance to aircraft or public
facilities, represents a risk.
The next question is —
The Chairman: Are we not going to be told that fuel actually comes through a pipeline to most planes at Pearson?
Witness 2: In actual fact, it does to many aircraft. There are, nonetheless, fuel trucks all over the north and south
ends. In the midfield, as well, there is lots of fuel. I would not buy that if they tell you it is not a risk.
Anyone has access to those things, for example those who work at Field Aviation - I do not mean to pick on Field,
particularly, but they do refurbishment, mostly of DeHavilland aircraft. They often have literally hundreds of people
working on those airplanes. All they have to do is walk out the door and they are on the ramp. They have access to the
aircraft inside and walk into the ramp areas at will where there are more airplanes. What is true for them is the case for
thousands of other employees at scores of other airport situated companies.
The Chairman: Is there no fence between them and the rest of the people at the airport?
Witness 2: There is a guard and fence, as you mentioned, Senator Kenny, adjacent to the Kilo Taxiway. There is a
guard there, a very nice gentlemen I suspect, but he is mostly asleep when I see him. He does not ever go out to an
airplane and say, ``Stop, I want to inspect.''
The Chairman: Does he stop a car?
Witness 2: He may.
The Chairman: You have never seen him stop a car?
Witness 2: No.
The Chairman: Have you ever seen that, Witness 1?
Witness 1: I have been out there and I have never seen him leave the booth. As Witness 2 said, 99 times out of 100,
he is asleep.
The Chairman: Witness 3, have you ever seen him stop a car?
Witness 3: I would have to agree with these two gentlemen, I have never seen him stop a car.
Senator Day: You have not seen a car that was not stopped.
Witness 2: I have never seen a car stopped.
Senator Day: No, I understand, did you ever see one that was not stopped? You said that you have never seen a car
stopped, but you might never have seen a car.
Witness 2: Okay, I got it. No, I have seen lots of cars and I was about to say, in defence of this poor gentleman, or
actually there are a series of gentlemen concerned — actually, both genders are there — most of the vehicles they see
are vehicles that would not inspire a question. If the vehicle says ``Wildlife Control,'' for example, on it, or it has
something that looks authoritative or is fire truck or it is a truck they have seen before, they are not going to do more
than perhaps wave. But, in fairness, we are talking about frailties that go with being human. The fact is, one can take
enormous umbrage at the defects in the system, but it actually worked pretty well before all this stuff happened in
September. Most people knew each other and just slid into routines.
As soon as you say the routine no longer functions, what you have then done is you have taken what we just did - we
have taken a 30-second discussion about car-stopping procedures and expanded it into three and half minutes. In this
case, you are taking 30-second problem — scrutinizing kilo taxisway access and, after 9-11 making it so demanding,
costly and procedure-ridden, that you cannot effectively continue to sustain all of the logistic functions of the airport
on the short term.
We all have to be sympathetic about what is going on here, but the fact is that being sympathetic is one thing and
recognizing how much risk is involved in what we are not doing is another. When you start looking at that risk profile,
you realize that. The fact is that customary practice fails. More is needed. They will not get to a level of perfection.
They have to go way higher up the security food chain than they are now.
The guy in that booth can no longer afford, on behalf of all of us, to be asleep most of the time. We cannot afford
that any more. We cannot afford to have a situation where anyone has access to anything that might result in harm to
the public and endanger public confidence in the air transport system. We cannot afford to let one person be given that
access unless we know something about their background and unless they are badged in a way that works, with
biometric information and whatever else gives us comfort that they are persons that can be trusted.
If we do not do that, if we do not absorb the inevitable costs of more controls, then we are absorbing risks that
involve, regrettably, way more than just losing lives. We will lose the system and the effect will be catastrophic. It is a
lot of dollars that needs to be spent today to save trillions.
Senator Meighen: I want to get to the bottom to the extent we can about this business of the difficulty of infiltrating
Was your request, Witness 1 or Witness 3 made from the perspective of a police force when you were with them, or
was it made from the perspective of your private organization? Is there a difference there in terms of reaction?
Witness 3: Both. While I was with law enforcement, working joint force operations, we were continually frustrated.
In private industry, again, we were approached by the investigators at Air Canada to supply them with the appropriate
person who could fit into their workforce and actually requested for one of our associates who has done probably the
best work in organized crime of anyone in this country. Again, we were frustrated by the HR department at Air
Canada. That went hand in hand, that was an investigation that was to be conducted by the RCMP along with the Air
May I add one thing? On Friday past, there were a couple of gentlemen who were going to come with us. I got the
frantic phone call, ``We can't come.'' They are having all these meetings and putting a gag order on everyone.
Senator Banks: We have noticed.
Witness 3: That occurred on Friday and one gentlemen who should have been seated here, he got the gag order put
The Chairman: Is this individual an active member of a police force now?
Witness 3: He is [blank] a police force.
The Chairman: And he was told by his superiors he could not come because?
Witness 3: Basically, with what was in the paper a couple of weeks ago about Al-Qaeda [blank], this gentlemen was
The Chairman: JTTF would be?
Witness 3: Joint Terrorist Task Force. They have another acronym for it.
Senator Banks: Of which police force was he an officer?
Senator Meighen: I think we know him. Maybe we don't. Could you tell us?
Witness 3: Yes, [blank].
Senator Meighen: What is the reason given? They have to give you some reason, don't the, to frustrate your desires?
Do they say it is not possible, too dangerous? What do they say?
Witness 3: They don't say. They just say no, you are not doing it. Public image. It wouldn't look good on the front
of the newspaper if the Air Canada cargo warehouse was cleaned out, or the Montreal cargo warehouse was cleaned
The Chairman: Air Canada security comes to you and says, ``We would like help on this,'' and then when you go to
Air Canada personnel, they say no.
Witness 3: Yes, that is exactly it.
Senator LaPierre: I was concerned about — I began with this with the feeling that there were areas of the airport
that were less secure because they did not need to be secure. But I must say that your description of the domino effect
makes the entire place much more secure. And also I was concerned by the fact that you in your paper frightened the
hell out of me that we cannot take care of every eventuality, but you also cleared that up in the sense that we cannot
take care of every eventuality, but that there is a difference between where we are now to what common sense would
My real question is what I have found in working with the committee is that no one seems to be responsible at the
end of the day. I think in Halifax we were told that the port authority leaves it to the thousands of subcontractors to be
responsible. Do you think it would be a good or possible from a legal point of view, et cetera, that we recommend that
the airport authority board of directors is responsible for the entire security of a determined or defined parameter of
what the airport consisted and they are to be held accountable and responsible, so that at the end of day the chairman
of the board or the chief executive officer says, ``Hey, I failed,'' is that possible?
Witness 2: I think the answer to that is ``yes'' in terms of responsibility. Much like a board of a company, there
should be somebody under a duty of care to police and ensure that all, within the context of the state of the art, that all
that can be done is being done. It is a matter of the horsepower underneath that. You actually need to have people who
are very educated in terms of the systems and people who can write the procedures and to load that burden on the
GTAA I suspect might be too big a burden.
What we really need, I think, is we need three things. We need, one, somebody with accountability, as you describe
— and, again, I agree. Two, we need some force that in fact is focused on this problem and does little other than in fact
develop solutions in terms of throwing the technology in the right places and making sure the procedures are right to
do the job, and they should be accountable to the airport, this airport and our other major airports; and, third, you
need some system to make sure there is coordination between the law enforcement agencies. In actual fact that is as big
a problem as any. We discovered many things, and the gentlemen to my left and right can speak more authoritatively
to this than I, but we discovered things that we simply don't anticipate that others —
The Chairman: We have a problem with the sound.
Witness 2: The third thing I think we need is we need to ensure that there is better coordination between all the
people who are active in the various dimensions of this problem. There are alerts that go on that people are totally
unaware of, for example. We had — to give you one example, in the last 10 days I have been to 12 different airports. I
have seen — most of them were in the U.S.; two were in Canada, Dorval and here, and I went to each in my own
airplane. So I have had an opportunity to see what is going on elsewhere in terms of my end of the world, which is
corporate aviation, and what is going on elsewhere, with the exception of Montreal, is universally marginally better
than what is happening here.
But in the context of my last trip, there was an active ``alert'' — somebody in one of the U.S. agencies had learned
that smaller airplanes, and when I say ``smaller'' I mean airplanes under 12.5 thousand pounds were being targeted by
some group or other who was going to take one over fully fuelled and, indeed, my largest airplane fully fuelled would
do a considerable amount of damage. It is not a 767, but it could probably destroy a building in this city.
We learned this literally on the road. When we came back to Toronto we discovered that, yes, some people had
heard about it on CNN, but there had been literally nothing by way of a formal warning. I look at things perhaps
differently because I am in this business. I always think in respect of what I do, that I have a fundamental duty of care
to discharge. If I mess up on that, I will be liable; and, if not liable, I will condemned to a world of hurt in courtrooms
at a minimum.
When somebody issues a warning like that, directed specifically at my end of the business, I think that is important.
But as often as not, no one ever hears about these things. That is why the third limb of this triage, if you like, has to be
better coordination, some systematic means of giving people a heads up that there is something coming. Even if it does
not, we want to know that somebody believes it might be. So you need horsepower, you need coordination and you
need somebody with accountability. Right now, people claim they have got accountability but there is no horsepower
and there is no coordination.
Witness 3: Could I add one thing there?
My experience at the airport is petty bickering between law enforcement, i.e. Customs, RCMP, Toronto, Peel, OPP.
Nobody wants to share; it is my cake and I am going to eat it. They have that mentality. That has to be overcome. That
is the biggest hurdle of it all. A prime example is September 11 with the Phoenix FBI division office not sharing that
information with the secret service and the other authorities in the United States, when the Phoenix sub-office is
actually a jaded off running there which has secret service sitting at the same table as we are sitting here today, and they
have to get over that. The GTAA has to say, ``All the information that flows from this premise will come through this
office.'' Get rid of the RCMP, bring its own enforcement unit in there because there is a major league problem in there.
Senator Wiebe: Why do we not bring in the RCMP and get rid of al the rest?
Witness 3: I agree with you 100 per cent. In the Greater Toronto Area, there should be one police service. Then you
have the dissemination of information all going to one pool. There has I just forget the judge who did the review of the
serial killers, the Green Ribbon Task Force — what is his honour's name?
The Chairman: This is the Holmolka trial.
Witness 3: The Holmolka trial.
The problem is not sharing information. He wrote a lovely report but it still goes on, no one shares a darn thing.
Witness 2: Mr. Justice Archie Campbell.
Witness 3: Archie Campbell wrote a scathing report of the non-sharing of information.
Senator Banks: Witness 3 began a sentence by saying, ``Do you know what the big problem is?'' I would like to hear
the rest of that sentence.
Witness 3: The big problem is the lack of sharing of information.
Senator Atkins: It is not just a question of money that is required, but it is really management.
Witness 2: It is actually both things. It is money and management, and the management really, I think — I am
making this up as I go along, let me confess, because I actually hadn't thought about what you just asked me in,
perhaps, sufficient detail. I suspect the management is two things. It is management in terms of the people and the
procedures and it is also managing to get more coverage with defective technology because that is all we have available
to us. We have got defective technology.
The Americans — and perhaps this may be useful to the committee — the Americans have done a really good job
here in terms of laying it out in a way that is absolutely riveting in its honesty. I think it was in November of last year
McGraw Hill sponsored a conference that included Mr. Mineta speaking to the question of airport security
specifically. The first question off this American floor was the best question. It was this: ``We have heard all you have
to say about what you are going to do procedure wise and in terms of equipment. We all know that is limited. Bombs
are the weak link. What about bombs?'' Everyone stopped. Mineta stood up and said, in effect, ``The truth is we have
no solution to that problem. In fact, what we have to do, and we are doing it now, we are talking to companies who
have started bomb detection, explosive detection technologies and we are throwing a bunch of money at them and we
are hoping that in a year or two we will have the solution.''
The Chairman: Some members of the committee may not be sure of who you are talking about here.
Witness 2: He is the Secretary, the person in the Department of Transportation ultimately responsible for the airport
security system. He is the head of transportation.
The Chairman: He is the secretary of transportation?
Witness 2: Secretary of transportation, yes. My point here is that the challenge isn't simply addressing —
Senator Atkins: Throwing money at it.
Witness 2: Throwing money. It is actually managing the money and getting a flow of technological evolution that
you can then put in place and revisiting, once you have that technology, what or who you can lay off and who you
What you need is money and you need really smart managers. In fact, the smart managers are more important than
the money. I will tell you, from direct experience, there is a world of very nice people at our airports but there is not
much evidence that goes beyond what Witness 3 just said. There is a very picayune, picky attitude true of most of those
institutions and there is not much hope there are good managers in there to do the job we are talking about, and yet we
need it done fast.
Senator Atkins: In terms of these security organizations that are hired around the airport, have they been infiltrated
by criminal elements?
Witness 3: On the physical security, it is a tender process for the uniform personnel. Group 4 security received the
tender and they hire out. I could not honestly answer that. They have done due diligence on their employee base or
what law enforcement has done on their employees when they come on site.
Witness 2: There is something that might be said about them, quite apart from their background.
Senator Atkins: That would be my second question. What about their training?
Witness 2: There is not much evidence that there are people possessed of a lot of experience with security problems
around airports from the private sector. What you do see is you see black cars and black uniforms and nice epaulets.
They hang around the gates sporadically, fairly sporadically. One never knows why they are there, but there is not any
evidence that they really know very much about the airport security challenge.
I have talked to lots of operators on the field who have visited on the issue of possibly hiring security companies who
have talked to them. Indeed, I have been in several of those interviews and they don't know very much at all about this
problem. It is mostly symbolic reassurance again if they are ``patrolling''.
Senator Atkins: The last question I have is: This committee has asked a number of people to appear before it and
there is a reluctance. Is it because they don't want to tell us or because of what?
Witness 2: There are a couple of things. We are appearing here in camera. I think the reason people don't want to
come and talk to you is, first and foremost, that they have a sense of vulnerability. These communities actually, even
though they are big physically, are actually quite small. It is possible that life could be be very difficult in that kind of
I think a main reason is embarrassment. If you actually do a common sense, A, B, C audit of where we are and
where we got to get to in order to solve the problem that we hope will never materialize but we know we have to
address anyway because we have a duty of care now, as soon as you start doing that and you compare it to where we
actually are, it is pretty humbling.
I am not sure, with all due respect to the head of the GTAA, I am not sure that he or any of his people would feel
really comfortable in coming to you and saying, ``You know what? We are not doing it. We simply aren't doing it. We
have looked at it and we realize we are not doing it. I think they all know, but I don't think they want to do that.
The primary reason is the same reason that may cause Air Canada to say, ``We don't want you investigating,'' and
that is the goodwill factor. There is a huge amount of money for everyone if the public is placated and huge losses if
people believe that anything bad might happen. Things continue as usual. People get on the charters and go off to the
south, or wherever it is they go for holidays. Business continues to be done. Freight forwarders continue to do their
work. Canada Post gets their stuff in the airplanes. Everyone makes money selling fuel and it is all predicated on an
illusion. In one sense, we know it is not safe; but the part that is not illusory is that everybody is making money; we are
all making money. If we scare the hell out of everyone, we will not make money. I think it is embarrassment. It think it
is a commercial motive and possibly there are other fears.
Senator Atkins: That may be a perception that is incorrect. If they were doing their job and identified some of the
problems, would that not reinforce public opinion that —
Witness 2: Yes. Absolutely. I spent the last month developing a hangar plan, which I am hoping to build which will
be the safest hangar on the field, and I am doing it for precisely the reason you describe. Once I have that, I will hang it
out on a shingle. I will say this is the safest thing there is. I am putting in already — I have a half a million dollars U.S.
committed to self-surveillance systems on the airplanes so they will police themselves when they are in other
jurisdictions. It is a quite common technology but not many people have yet spent the money. That is something to sell.
But, senator, you can sell greater security it but you can't have it until you have built the hangars and taken the
airplanes down for refits and done all this stuff. That is going to take us eight months in terms of getting the airplanes
done. It it going to take us a year in terms of the hangar. And in the meantime, what are we going to do?
You take my business and expand it in the context of, say, a charter operation like Sky Service, or a huge airline like
Air Canada, no one is going to stand up and say, ``No, no, we are not there yet,'' and you know in three or four years
we might be. What they will do is when they get there is they will say, ``We are here.''
In the U.S., they spend a bit of money. The FBOs, the fixed-base operators, they do a great deal of business in fuel,
they do in fact say, ``You know what? We're safer. Come to us, we are safer.'' They have done it.
In some areas it can start, but I think the main reason that what you have described is not occurring is because it will
take too long or there is too much business to be lost if the fear — if there is an accurate perception of what is going on,
if that gets out there, then there will be a lot of fear and business will slow.
Senator Atkins: The chairman will forgive me for this last question: Yes or no; would you give pilots weapons?
Witness 2: No.
The Chairman: Senator Forestall.
Witness 2: Could I add something here? Forgive me. If you will allow it. There is one point you, perhaps, should
realize. Again, what people will sell you is focus on the terminals and we are making airplanes safe and people's
imagination is revolving around what has happened so they think terrorism is people beating in the cockpit doors and
killing pilots and taking airplanes over. Ironically, of all the problems we have, that is the easiest to solve. Indeed, for
the most part, it is being solved. Kevlar doors on the cockpit and absolute rigid, rigid procedures, that if there is
something going on in the back, you stay up there and you fly the airplane. It is a very simple fix. It is the only area in
this total security issue at the airport, it is the only area that is susceptible to an easy fix. It is such a paradox.
But, funnily enough, you know what we have to worry about is step two on the terrorism side; it is bombs; it is
sabotage. It is that kind of thing and there are no easy fixes for that. They are much more complicated.
I guess that was a long ``no.''
Senator Forrestall: The problem with that is they will want Kevlar doors on the engines.
This is a concern I raised earlier. Is there a trade-off between rising anxiety because of transparency? Is there a trade-
off, or do we really — the question is: What in the hell are we doing here? How far can you go before you scare people
Witness 2: The problem was, and I just wrote it two days ago, I had to do this in quite a hurry for you. The issue was
when I got to, you know, it is important that the senators understand that the problem is real, which was the second or
third paragraph in, where I identified things that might happen, when I got to that I thought, ``Oh, my God. If you say
all that stuff and you say it too broadly, you might give somebody the idea.'' That was the first thought; and the second
thought was: ``Yes, you are going to worry people.'' But the truth of the matter is you will not give anybody the idea
who has not thought of it before.
The people we are worrying about most are strategic. And they have thought about it. We are not worried about
people who have got random grievances, such as might have been true of the Air India crash, and I say ``might''
because we don't know, or the person who blew up the airplane at 100-Mile House years ago in British Columbia
where it was just to make an insurance claim. Those people are out there and random sabotage will happen and we
can't do anything about it. But the people who we are worried about now, we all believe to be very sophisticated. So,
you know what? We are not giving them a heads up on anything; they already know the opportunities as well as any of
Now, the public, I don't know where you come down on this. The fact is we have all been cultured to believe that
more information is better; if we have more information we make better decisions. And we put pressure on getting the
right resolution to things we are worried about. As soon as you step back and say, ``You know what? We are not going
to work that way anymore. It is just simply too scary for the public at large to know,'' I think that is dangerous.
Secrecy is a clear necessity in some intelligence matters, and these two gentlemen would know all about that. But at a
more general level when you are looking at what is a huge public service, it is a main artery of the commercial lifeblood
of the country, I don't think we can afford too much paternalism in the form of secrecy. But it is a tough call, I quite
agree with you on that.
But, you know, again, in a way, it is sort of like the gun in the airplane. Everyone talks about crews having guns and
few think to ask: ``What if you fire the gun at 35,000 feet?'' Has anybody heard of explosive decompression? I will tell
you all about it. I went to school on explosive decompression. For the most part, nobody lives.
It is the same thing here. You make a decision not to tell people, and what comes after that? That is firing a
metaphorical ``bullet'' and it will hit something and it will be big, whatever it is. You don't tell them, and the effect may
be be huge.
Senator Meighen: Just for our guidance in further hearings — and I think I know the answer, but can you help us —
what are the sort of things that people in your business — I am asking principally Witness 3 — would not want to talk
about? They don't want to say, ``Here is how we caught Joe Blow. We planted this microphone device in a fake
flower.'' What are the things they don't want to tell us?
Witness 1: I think, senator, Witness 3 mentioned it earlier, in the Phoenix letter that gave a warning about
September 11 and what was coming up. There is a element of empire building going around Pearson. There is a joint
investigative unit at the airport. The Toronto Police, Peel Regional Police, and so forth are there.
It is just a thing in law enforcement that should not occur, that there should be a sharing of intelligence information
involving the various intelligence agencies.
The Chairman: Was that the question, or was the question —
Senator Meighen: That was more profound than I thought.
The Chairman: The question I was hearing being asked was: What should we not fairly ask someone involved in
Witness 3: What we should not ask is — basically, if there is something under the Privacy Act, they are forbidden
under law to disclose technique and what is going on presently.
Senator Meighen: Technique, and what is going on in the area of techniques presently?
Witness 3: Right now, if they are doing an active investigation, they cannot — anything with Part IV of the Code
with wiretaps, electronic surveillance of any type, they are prohibited from discussing it.
Senator Meighen: What about past experience?
Witness 3: Past, yes, you can ask about past. Technique, in my experience, I never disclose technique to the courts or
anything that is a question. You don't want to let the other side know what you are doing, or how you are doing it,
unless you have developed something which is far more successful.
The Chairman: For example, is it unreasonable to ask, ``Are you checking baggage for bombs?''
Witness 3: That is reasonable.
Senator Meighen: Are you checking all bags for bombs?
Witness 3: That is a factual thing which they should have a record of.
Senator Meighen: How are they checking?
The Chairman: Wait a minute, there should be a record of this that is available?
Witness 3: They should keep a record of what their track record is: ``We checked 12,000 bags and we found 100
suspicious ones which we went and opened and of that we found two which might have been a problem.''
The Chairman: Is it reasonable to ask: ``Are you checking bags with x-rays for bombs,'' and then, ``are you checking
bags with dogs or with chemical sniffers?'' Are all those reasonable questions?
Witness 3: They are all reasonable questions.
The Chairman: What percentage? Is that a reasonable question?
Witness 3: Yes.
The Chairman: If they say, ``If we divulge that, we would be giving the game away to the bad guys?''
Witness 3: No, they should be divulging that.
I would think that with the equipment they have purchased to use to do this, the manufacturer would be wanting to
know the stats on how effective the piece of equipment was working.
The Chairman: If they said to you, ``We wouldn't want anybody taking a picture of that because if someone took a
picture of it that would help the bad guys.''
Witness 2: You might remind them about the Internet. Most of what a terrorist would want to know about is there
The Chairman: They then would say, ``The way it is structured in the particular building as such that it would give it
away to the bad guys?''
Witness 3: I don't know where they would stand on that. How could they even utter that?
The Chairman: They then would say, ``If you took a picture long enough, they would see a pattern of how we
actually do things and that would help the bad guys.''
Witness 2: It is more likely that you would see a pattern of how they do not do things as opposed to what they do do,
and that probably is pretty scary, but that is not a reason for not telling you.
The Chairman: If somebody took a picture of a screen that was working an x-ray, the bad guys would learn
something from that that they shouldn't know.
Witness 3: I don't think they could get a camera to take a picture properly with digital image, taking a picture of a
screen, because all you are going to see is the lines moving on it. You don't get a clear enough photograph.
Senator LaPierre: Is it possible to ask, since most passengers on an aircraft are bringing suitcases that are quite large
— about that there is no doubt — is it possible to ask the authorities whether, going through that little machine at the
entrance point to board the plane, the security, is that powerful enough or as powerful as the luggage going
Witness 2: It is not a matter of how much power is there. It is not just power. It is actually the technology that is
used. X-rays come in all shapes and sizes in terms of their capability. The challenge, apparently, is to get one that
doesn't give you too much information against one that doesn't give you any at all. Too much is as bad as too little. So
you have to spend quite a lot of money to get exactly that sort of mid-point where you have a high probability of
identifying something worth looking at. If you identify 100 ambiguous things worth looking at in every single bag, it is
a complete waste of time.
You might well want to know a lot about the technology they are using. You might want to know about the
procedures that are being employed once they have detected something of possible interest, and for the most part they
don't pay much attention to it, and then once they actually flag something what the follow-up is. Here again, I think
what you have is a quintessentially political exercise. You take away a hat pin, you take away some nail clippers, and
everybody leaves the airport saying, ``Oh, isn't that wonderful, they are so zealous. The least possibility of there being
any kind of an act on an airplane is being addressed, we don't have to worry.'' And it is all nonsense, absolute
Senator LaPierre: Should we ban carry-on?
Witness 2: No.
Witness 3: What is the training that person received to read an x-ray. A doctor is eight years to become a radiologist.
What gives Joe Q. getting hired to go read a fluoroscope, read an x-ray?
Senator Day: They are not specialists because they rotate around.
Witness 3: Exactly. It is like a pinwheel. They are going around, ``You're going over here to read x-rays.''
To give you a prime example, a few years ago the Colombians decided to use hard-sided Samsonite suitcases to
smuggle with. So the Colombians hired a kid out of Berkeley. The kid made a synthesis to make cocaine look like glass
and the Colombians got the hard-sided suitcase, they put a piece of glass, the same quarter inch thick in the middle of
the suitcase like that, and the large suitcases as you call them. Then they laid the coke inside the suitcase and they
compressed it. They bonded the other side to it. I watched seven of these go right through the x-ray machine like that.
They were all full. Each one of them had 15 kilos of coke in them. They looked like glass. Where there is a will, there is
Witness 1: Bags that go through the x-ray process, if they are separated for secondary examination for explosives, or
whatever, the going technology right now is about a 20 per cent false positive reading on those machines. So you get
into the time-consuming process of examining all these different parcels and bags.
The Chairman: These are bags at Pearson airport and they are getting 20 per cent positives on the ones they actually
Witness 2: Where they have the technology. This is the latest evolution of the technology, where they are actually
swiping and analyzing, and there is the 20 per cent failure rate. But Witness 1's point, if I can add some words to what
he said for a moment, is that you have got a time motion issue which is utterly impossible. The most they can handle
with that system is 600 bags an hour.
The Chairman: Of the 600 bags an hour, 30 of them are going to react positively.
Witness 2: If they actually do it at all, at least 20 percent are going to react positively. There are a whole bunch of
things in here that you have to recognize.
First, it is discriminatory process that depends on human judgment. The person who has the equipment has to make
a decision as to which individual to target. So there is a profiling going on — here. None of us may like — this, but it is
happening all the time at the working level. There is always profiling. They have to make a subjective decision of
whether or not in terms of the flow of people they can afford to use the technology and do a follow up on a positive
indication because they are going to back everything up and cause delays. So there is a lot of pressure on them really
not to apply too much vigilance during busy times, and then when they believe that they can afford to do a search, it
must conform to a procedure — if they have flagged somebody and it is false positive, they have to have a procedure
under which they can relinquish the person and let them carry on.
So it's laden with enormous problems. But the underlying message is, when it comes to explosives, for the most part,
all the systems available are very primitive, and if anybody thinks or anybody tells you that they are screening
everything for explosives in the hold and as carry-on items, forget it, it is simply not happening.
Senator Forrestall: Don't give this last 37 minutes to me on my account.
I wanted to — empire building is here — I am becoming increasingly concerned about the tendency of airport
authorities, as we have privatized them now —
The Chairman: We can't hear you.
Senator Forrestall: Can't hear me? Is that better.
To the question of empire building, the question of the airport authorities and the boards that have been set up, they
are paid very handsomely. I doubt if you pay yourself as much as chairman of your own board. Some of these people
get paid 25,000, 18,000, 15,000. These people have an empire they want to protect and they are, in the course of doing
that, it is becoming apparent to me, that they are ducking their responsibilities to the physical asset and the people who
have to use it. They are ducking the responsibility for its safe operation by not accepting any responsibility for any of
the areas which have concerned you gentlemen most of your adult lives, if not all of them.
Do you have any concern about that, this direction, this tendency of the authority to back away from responsibility?
Witness 2: There is enormous business value in being able to say, ``I don't have responsibility for this.'' It is of huge
value to be able to say somebody, ``It is somebody else's duty of care,'' and that applies as much to the people who
administer the airport as it does to the people who own the airplanes. We all want to do that, there is no doubt.
As for the airport, generally, it is a complex operation, the executive skills of the people in place, I have no comment
about, other than they seem okay. I think you would have to look at the budget numbers to really know. There may be
huge overruns there, there may not be. But they seem to do the job and I think they are people of goodwill for the most
part. I know few people here who don't exhibit those characteristics.
But the bottom line is nobody wants to go on the hook for this, and that is where government comes in. It is
government's job to say, ``You are on the hook.'' Once that happens, people will respond to it. Right now we have this
ethereal thing going on, no one wants to address what it really is, no body wants to take the hit for it in terms of what
they must do, and so nobody is doing it.
The bottom line here is a simple solution. Somebody says, with the force of Her Majesty's legislation underneath it,
``You will,'' and once that happens then I think we have hope for a solution.
The Chairman: We are running 35 minutes behind on our next set of witnesses and we are going public then.
Senator Forrestall: Thank you very much for your candor. Your openness has been somewhat refreshing. I went
through this exercise, as you will recall, two years ago with another committee of the Senate and we got stonewalled at
every turn. I want to publicly in front of you, at least commend the chair for this persistence in openness and
transparency. Some of us are very concerned about scary and undue alarm; but I believe in the final analysis that
openness is going to lead to more security than harm.
Thank you for your candor and your honesty. Thank you for what you didn't tell us. We now know the difference
between what can be said and what shouldn't be said — not can't be but shouldn't be said.
Senator Cordy: There is a substantial amount of money going into airport security. We are now paying an airport
tax of $24 when we make a trip. Is there in place a long-term plan for security based on research and development? Or
is the money just being used on what people can see and that would be scanners, more people as you enter as you go in
to take your flight? It scares me because I heard what you said earlier, and I am very much inclined to believe it. It is
almost like let's keep our heads buried in the sand and keep the public from knowing too much because everybody is
happier that way.
Witness 2: You are really asking for a report on our progress in search of the holy grail because the truth is none of
us know. All the obvious points of reference that you would use to find out whether or not there is a plan out there are
coming back negative. There is a federal task force. I suggested somewhat obliquely that you might want to ask what
they have done because my information is they have done nothing. They can't seem to convene more than a meeting or
two. You have a bunch of people talking about what they might do and their various reps, - the CBAA, COPA, IATA
have representatives on it and other groups are there, and they mostly just laugh in amazement. They shake their heads
and laugh at what is not happening.
There may be some changes coming — I gather that Brian Fleming in Halifax has been given responsibility to
develop some kind of task force in this area. Nobody again appears to know very much at all about what is being done
there, if anything. We are all driven back, senator, to look at the obvious sort of tracings, the indicia of whether or not
there is some magic bullet being developed, and what we are all seeing is that there is nothing. There is no change.
There is no plan. Nothing is being communicated. There are slow insignificant bits of progress here and there.
Again, in my area of the airport there will be quite a lot of progress. But there is no overarching entity charged with
responsibility, given a budget, accumulating the expertise and going out and doing it. And that is what we need. We
don't need an airport tax that is just generating money, being spent for whatever purpose, one shudders to think. We
don't need that. What we need is a declaration that there is an entity now charged with responsibility, they must do it
and they are doing it. That is what we need and that is not there.
Senator Cordy: I agree with you.
When we get back to organized crime at the airports, and we heard quite a bit about it at the ports, and we heard
that the unions were certainly instrumental in bringing people in who would be part of the organized crime group. How
are the organized crime members getting hired, if in fact they are supposedly — and we have heard that if somebody is
going to be hired their names have to be sent to Transport Canada. How in fact are these people getting in?
Witness 1: As you just mentioned, it gets into an issue of employment screening, but if you take yourself one step
removed from the front line, as long as they have access in some capacity, whether it's — and they are not beyond
putting people in. There are certain members of biker gangs who don't have criminal records and they are able to pass
that screening process.
In days gone by, they have been able to infiltrate police forces by putting girlfriends and associates in positions
where they have access to police intelligence records. They do that at the ports. They do that at the airport.
If the bar is a criminal conviction, there are ways around that. They can do that. Again, if there is a problem, just
take it one step back into the cargo bays and so forth that they have access to.
Senator Cordy: You mentioned profiling in the paper you did. Certainly, if we are talking about — I will go back to
airports again — containers are profiled or targeted as being suspect. So they would be the ones unloaded. Yet in
Canada Canadians are reluctant to use profiling of individuals, in terms of saying, ``Well, we are stopping these people
because they fit a profile, particularly if it is a racial profile,'' and yet you are saying that if we are going to go after
terrorists, in fact, we have to key in on specific individuals.
Witness 2: The term ``profiling'' has been used in a bunch of different contexts. There is profiling in terms of
screening the background of the people who work at the airport and that is important and should be universal. That is
a very democratic process, if you do it right. Everybody is included.
The profiling judgments that are made by people who are manning the security systems, that is happening anyway.
Take your pick. Do you want to have somebody doing it at random, perhaps with little education and visiting
frustration on ethnologies that they don't like; or do you want it done in a systematic way? In fact, profiling judgments,
when they are visited on passengers in a sophisticated way, and the Americans are a good example of this, catch people
you would not expect they would catch. They found a person trying to get a bomb on an aircraft in Florida, who was
many months pregnant, and, incidentally, pale skinned, for example. The U.S. success stories suggest that a good
profiling system actually goes way beyond the so-called ``obvious'' kind of colour, ethnic, cultural, dress factors. So
somebody is going to profile any way, if profiling is inevitable, the question quickly reduces to whether you want it
done well or not.
Senator Cordy: So you are using intelligence and, again, cooperation of all the agencies involved, going back to what
you said earlier?
Witness 2: Public and private. There are private systems out there that are keyed into facial recognition systems.
Major American airlines for many months now have had access to the best of the private systems and to a coordinated
system between the various agencies. Those systems are generating results.
What I think I mentioned in the paper, and I forget now, but I think I said something about spectacular failures.
There have been a couple of spectacular failures. Our legal system, wonderful as it is, and the American one is even
more advanced, allows people to complain quite vocally when they are targeted. That is a good thing; it is a price of
doing business. But the fact is that the success rate is what we never know really very much about at all. If you prevent
it happening, we will never know whether it would have happened.
Profiling in the U.S. is described as really quite effective as a tool and something that is going to form a big part of
the equation no matter what we might decide to say or do in Canada.
Senator Day: Witness 2, on the back of your card it says terms, if the terms of the issuance of this access card are not
met, then the card may be called back. Do you recall having something in writing as to terms when it was issued?
Witness 2: Yes. There is a sheet of paper that gives you the rules. The basic rules are that anybody who has a card
can only employ its privileges for business. They can't use it for personal reasons. I couldn't go meet my 86-year-old
mother at the aircraft because I have a crew card that allows me through the gate. I would be challenged because I
would be going through the security screening — they would ask me what I'm doing.
Senator Day: Do you have that in writing so that you could share that with us?
Witness 2: I could certainly share that with you. I don't have it here, but I will get it to Senator Kenny.
Senator Day: That would be handy if we could see those terms. Presumably that one would be one of the terms.
Witness 2: That is the main one. It is not a very onerous set of terms.
Senator Day: The second question is for Witness 3. You indicated that your proposal for a digital surveillance
program was well received. Does that mean it has been implemented or is being implemented?
Witness 3: Will be implemented very shortly.
Senator Day: Who is paying for that?
Witness 3: Private contractors.
The Chairman: Where is it being implemented, please?
Witness 3: On an FBO, on the north side.
Senator Day: What is an FBO?
Witness 2: Fixed base operation. It is a base that handles corporate, regional, air ambulance and parcel express
airplanes, some parcel express airplanes, and some larger ones as well.
Senator Day: Is this program, surveillance program, security program being implemented by virtue of these
companies feeling that is their obligation or because there is some regulation that says they must do it?
Witness 3: By their obligation, their corporate obligation. They want to tighten security up in their operation. The
system is an American linel system which is used by the American military. It is a military standard system. I believe
Canada is trying the system out in the Halifax Dartmouth airport right now also.
Senator Day: The system —
Witness 3: The manufacturer is running a test.
Senator Day: Is that being paid for out of the $24 that passengers — that is over on the other side, so that money
does not slop over to the other organizations?
Witness 3: No. The contract is with a private FBO operator. They also run several other FBO locations.
Senator Day: It is all being paid for by them.
Witness 2: It is being paid for by the tenants. In fact, that is how I became involved in this whole matter. I insisted
we have security and I went to the person, the group that owned the hangars and we brought Witness 3 and Witness 1
in and others to look at this system. We pay for it.
Senator Day: You are doing that out of your own commercial obligation. You recognize your obligation?
Witness 2: Yes.
Senator Day: This is not being in any way funded or required —
Witness 2: It is entirely private and it is not a magic bullet. It is a much better system than we have now which is
basically minimal and even what we have often does not work at all in fact. The improvements are entirely voluntary
and it is because of a perception that it is a basic due diligence precautionary need and it is also the right thing to do.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, I would like to wrap this up. Before I thank our guests for coming, just so we
are absolutely clear on how we are going to deal with the information, our reporters are sitting over there, these are
Senate reporters who have been taking down a verbatim transcript. You have been identified and will be identified in
the text as witnesses 1, 2 and 3 throughout the text. We will undertake to you not to release the text to anyone unless
you have vetted that and signed off on it.
We had the impression, Witness 2, that the paper you gave us was available for circulation, but then during the
course of the testimony it was not clear to me whether you still wanted it to be made available or not.
Witness 2: I have no objection if you want to print it at the end. What I would be a bit concerned about is using it as
a basis for — as an explicit basis for questions of others that follow. It would be awkward if you said, ``Witness 2 was
here and he wrote a paper and said the following; is that true or not true?'' That would be awkward.
The Chairman: I take it you would have no difficulty if we took some information that we had in there and said,
``We have sworn testimony to the effect that this is happening. Can you corroborate this?''
Witness 2: Please do so. That is why I wrote it. When it is all over, print it.
The Chairman: What you are saying is that at report publication time you don't have difficulty with your paper
being appended to it?
Witness 2: Not at all. Please do.
The Chairman: Are there any areas of uncertainty that you have about the ground rules here?
Witness 2: If it turns out, and I can't imagine this happening, if it turns out that it is horribly off the mark, and I
would be amazed, then you might not want to print it. But the reason for writing it was to give you a touchstone that
you could use and to give you a basis for being suspicious of any answer you get because I can absolutely guarantee
you that everything in there is right as of this moment.
Senator Meighen: To what extent can we establish the credentials of witnesses 1, 2 and 3?
The Chairman: That is a good question. What I would endeavour to do before we released anything was vet the
evidence and say people with extensive police experience.
Senator Meighen: Can we say that that is the point? Somebody with extensive police experience somebody with told
us in sworn testimony that —
The Chairman: Do you have difficulty with that? Do we get into more problems in qualifying you? Only because
when you take a look at how you — there are not a hell of a lot of people who are directing [blank], are pilots and have
[blank], so I am not quite sure how we go about that.
For the purposes of today, I don't know the answer. Can you help us for today?
Witness 2: You might just simply say that you have had somebody with senior executive experience in aircraft
management. How about that?
The Chairman: Okay. As far as how we do it in writing, we would show you a draft and have you sign off on it.
Witness 2: I would appreciate that courtesy. That would be great.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, on behalf of the committee, you have been very helpful to getting us off on a
start on this. I can't tell you how much we do appreciate the fact that you have taken your time to come here, the effort
it took to prepare the paper for us was extraordinary and we appreciate it very much. You came to us and had you not
done that we wouldn't have known that you existed or could have given us this start. All I can say is I hope we can do
justice to the sort of information you have given us today.
On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank you very much.
Witness 2: Could I say one final word?
The reason we came to you was because of what you as a committee had already done. Senator Kenny was on the
radio speaking about the work you have done in respect of ports. I happened to have been in a traffic jam at the time
and listened to it with great care. I knew the person being interviewed and I knew the person very well who was doing
the interviewing. It was so impressive, so important, that we would immediately have been in default of our
responsibility by not coming to you, and that is why we came to you.
The Chairman: It is greatly appreciated. We hope to see you again. Thank you very much.
The committee adjourned.