The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration continue to monitor reports on potential terrorist threats in the United States. The United States Government has raised the threat level to ORANGE for the financial services sector in New York City, Northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C. We do have new and unusually specific information about where Al Qa’ida would like to attack. Based on a recent interagency review of available information, we remain concerned about Al-Qa’ida’s continued efforts to plan multiple attacks against the United States possibly employing commercial or general aviation aircraft, including helicopters. As a precaution, increased awareness and reporting throughout the general aviation community is desired. At this time,we have no information on dates for potential attacks. TSA will keep you advised should any additional aviation security measures be warranted as the intelligence and threat situation are further analyzed.
TSA wants to remind general aviation aircraft and airport operators to review the security measures contained in the TSA Information Publication,Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports (available at http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/editorial/editorial_1113.xml),and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Airport Watch Program materials (available at www.aopa.org/airportwatch). In addition, general aviation aircraft and airport operators are encouraged to consider the following:
- Secure unattended aircraft to prevent unauthorized use.
- Verify the identification of crew and passengers prior to departure.
- Verify that baggage and cargo are known to the persons on board.
- Where identification systems are in place, encourage employees to wear proper identification and challenge persons not wearing proper identification.
- Direct increased vigilance to unknown pilots and/or clients for aircraft or helicopter rental or charters – as well as unknown service/delivery personnel.
- Be alert/aware of and report persons masquerading as pilots, security personnel,emergency medical technicians, or other personnel using uniforms and/or vehicles as methods to gain access to aviation facilities or aircraft.
- Be alert/aware of and report aircraft with unusual or unauthorized modifications.
- Be alert/aware of and report persons loitering int he vicinity of aircraft or air operations areas – as well as persons loading unusual or unauthorized payload onto aircraft.
- Be alert/aware of and report persons who appear to be under stress or the control of other persons.
- Be alert/aware of and report persons whose identification appears altered or inconsistent.
Persons should report suspicious activity immediately to local law enforcement and the TSA General Aviation Hotline at 866-GASECUR (866-427-3287).