Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to Ann McLaughlin, who, as Chairman of the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism, recently completed a job for which all Americans can be thankful.
On May 15, 1990, the Commission presented to the President its report on aviation security. As my colleagues know, this Commission was formed to look into events surrounding the tragic bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988.
The Commission's task was a formidable one. Its job was to conduct a comprehensive review of aviation security, here in the United States, and abroad. In conducting this review, the Commission was directed to answer some of the nagging questions about the Pan Am 103 bombing: How it could have been allowed to happen; and what needed to be done to reduce the chances of it happening again.
These were questions that could not go unanswered. The families of the victims had a right to know. That is why, in March of 1989, with the support of the families, I called on the President to appoint a Commission to conduct this investigation. When I made that request for a Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism, I had no preconceptions about who might be selected to lead the Commission. We could not have been more fortunate in having such a professional, dedicated person as Ann McLaughlin to guide the Commission.
As Chairman, her job was perhaps even more daunting than the Commission's itself. She had to coordinate the actions of the Commission's six other members; not an easy task when one looks at the membership--two Senators, two Congressmen, and two former prominent military men. She had to pull together a professional staff of investigators, convene hearings, fulfill the Commission's mandate, and report to the President--all within the short space of 6 months.
By any account, Ann McLaughlin did an incredible job. The report has been acclaimed by the President, the Secretary of Transportation, and most importantly, so many of the families themselves, for its depth, honesty, and commitment to finding the sometimes painful answers to tough questions.
The Commission's report is serving as a blueprint for major changes in our aviation security system. The result will be safer to travel for Americans. For the role that she played in shaping these changes, Ann McLaughlin deserves a tremendous amount of credit, and our thanks.