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Clinton signs airport security measures into law

October 9, 1996
Web posted at: 12:15 p.m. EDT

Clinton

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton on Wednesday signed into law the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 1996, which includes some of the wide-ranging security measures recommended by Vice President Al Gore's aviation security commission.

"(The bill) will improve the security of air travel," the president said at a signing ceremony in the Old Executive Office Building. "It will carry forward our fight against terrorism." (14 sec./160K AIFF or WAV sound)

The measure, combined with a budget bill signed last week, authorizes the installation of new bomb-detection scanners to examine both carry-on and checked baggage at major airports, pays for new FBI agents to be assigned to airport security, increases inspection of mail on board flights, and increases the use of bomb-sniffing dogs.

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Gore's commission presented its report and recommendations on September 9. Clinton said Wednesday that the bill he was signing made almost all of those recommendations "the law of the land."

"This bill is an outstanding example of how we can advance our strategy when we work together -- the government and private citizens, the executive branch and Congress, Republicans and Democrats," Clinton said. (6 sec. / 80K AIFF or WAV sound)

The bill also assigns the National Transportation Safety Board the task of dealing with families of those injured or killed by air disasters. That recommendation grew out of complaints from families of victims of TWA Flight 800 that the airline was slow or inadequate in responding to their needs.

TWA Flight 800 exploded shortly after takeoff from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in July, killing all 230 aboard.

The bill authorizes $19 billion for the FAA over the next two years. It also bars unlicensed pilots from setting aeronautical records. This is designed to prevent a situation like this year's crash that killed 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, who was attempting to become the youngest pilot to complete a cross-country flight.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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