Steve Forbes, Former Presidential Candidate

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 28, 2001.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: So I bet you feel safer already now that Congress passed that airline security bill and President Bush signed it into law. Well, I hate to burst your flying bubble, but don't think we're over the security hump just yet. As former presidential candidate Steve Forbes sees it, airport security is already looking like too little too late. He joins us right now from his office headquarters at Forbes magazine. Steve, good to have you back.


CAVUTO: You're not a big fan of what we're seeing thus far, are you?

FORBES: No I'm not. I think we should have learned from the Europeans and the Israelis that you don't have to federalize a force to get the job done. What you need is airport-wide security arrangements and requirements, where the airport does it itself instead of just focusing on passengers. The FAA has already admitted that it can't check every piece of luggage for explosives. That's ridiculous. The technology exists. Helped financed by the federal government, a small company, Ancore , has already done it, which can noninvasively check every piece of luggage, every container for every substance known to humankind.

CAVUTO: Yes, but how long would that take?

FORBES: They could start ordering that equipment tomorrow morning and start using it. But they haven't. It's amazing.

CAVUTO: See, I was told just the opposite: that they don't have enough machines for all the major airports, let alone all the airports period.

FORBES: Well, if you don't make the order and the technology exists, then it's not going to be done. They should have been doing this months ago. This technology has been around for several years.

CAVUTO: So this deadline in order to get things essentially securitized and protected within the next year: not doable, you say?

FORBES: I think it is doable if they start using some of the technology that is there. But I don't think the Transportation Department even knows that it exists. They haven't looked for it yet.

CAVUTO: What about you when you fly? Are you nervous?

FORBES: No I'm not nervous. I just am amazed that they don't have procedures in that can give you a real sense of security. Each airport seems to go its own way. They may check your license three times. But in terms of finding out what you have on you, it varies from airport to airport. I don't get a real sense that they have their act together yet.

CAVUTO: I'm curious, when they check your license, do they know who you are?

FORBES: Whether they know who I am or not -- and some recognize me -- you still go through the procedures, including...

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

FORBES: Including an airport the other day where they made everyone take off their shoes and put them through the machines.

CAVUTO: The shoes?

FORBES: Yes, shoes.

CAVUTO: What airport?

FORBES: This was in Miami.



CAVUTO: Well, I guess. Let me get your feeling of this. We're going to hire, what, 26,000, 27,000 federal workers to police these airports and do God knows what. Is that the answer?

FORBES: Well, I think that's part of the answer. And, again, it is how they do it in terms of training, learning from the Europeans and, as I say, the Israelis, where they have gone through terrorist attacks. Airports do have much better security. And the key thing is, Neil, overall airport security, not just the passengers. Don't treat passengers as the enemy. You have numerous ways you can get out to aircraft, through vendors and the like and people who work at the airport. And that's where you have some of the biggest holes in security. And that's where they have got to focus on: the whole airport, not just the passengers.

CAVUTO: This air marshal program, which supposed to originally be part of this airline security package, might end up not being. So I would feel a lot better flying if I saw an air marshal on my flight, but I might not see that for some time to come.

FORBES: Well, again, I think there are certain flights where I think they are now using air marshals on all of them, particularly from Reagan Airport. And that's all to the good. But, again, it's an overall package. The Israelis have done it before in terms of having a secure pilot, allowing the airline workers on the plane, the attendants, to have a device, a pepper device or something to quell an unruly or possibly violent passenger. You don't need arms. You have a weaponry which they can be trained to use and give them a sense of protection.

CAVUTO: Could I switch real quickly? Are you going to run for Senate in New Jersey?

FORBES: I have no plans to. So I'll be promoting you, Neil.


CAVUTO: No. I can live with that. Steve Forbes, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

FORBES: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Steve Forbes in New York.

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