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Cablegate: Chile Working Avidly to Comply with Tsa Security Directives

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RR RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHGR RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD
RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHSG #1270/01 3651756
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311753Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0489
INFO WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/TSA HQ WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUMIESS/SOUTHCOM IESS MIAMI FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SANTIAGO 001270

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON PGOV EAIR PTER PINS CI
SUBJECT: Chile Working Avidly to Comply with TSA Security Directives

1. Summary: Since Saturday, December 26, Post has been in regular
contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Chile's General
Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and the three airlines (LAN
Chile, Delta, and American) that operate non-stop flights to the
United States. Although legal concerns regarding pat-downs have
yet to be fully resolved and logistical challenges remain, both GOC
authorities and the airlines are fully committed to meeting TSA
security requirements. Post has been advised that DGAC and
airlines representatives met December 30 to begin jointly
developing an alternate screening proposal for TSA approval. Thus
far, they have reached consensus on and have begun the use of
explosives-sniffing dogs to screen passengers prior to boarding. At
this point, there is excellent coordination among civil aviation
authorities and the airlines. Post strongly supports the use of
explosive-sniffing dogs as an interim security measure and
encourages DHS/TSA to continue to work with DGAC and the airlines
to ensure compliance with security requirements. End summary.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Supports Compliance

--------------------------------------------- ---------------

2. Post delivered TSA Aviation Security Directive (SD) 1544-09-06
and Aviation Emergency Amendment (EA) 1546-09-01 to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Sunday, December 27. On December 28, DCM
and EPOLoff met with MFA officials to discuss the aviation security
situation. The MFA's clear message was that it will advocate full
compliance with TSA security directives. Ministry officials
stressed that Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez has asked to be
kept fully updated on the issue. MFA Sub-director for
International and Human Security, Eduardo Tapia, has the lead
within the MFA on civil aviation and is the liaison with Chile's
General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC). He remains our key
interlocutor at the MFA. Other meeting attendees were Isauro
Torres, Director for North America, and three representatives from
Consular Affairs.

Civil Aviation Authorities and Airlines Also Committed and Working
on a Solution

--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
-----------------------------------

3. On December 28, Embassy representatives from State, FBI, and
DOD met with representatives from DGAC, MFA, Chile's national
airline (LAN) and American Airlines to discuss the TSA DS and EA.
Emboffs provided attendees with copies of the unclassified FBI
Intelligence Bulletin regarding the case, as well as the Criminal
Complaint filed against the alleged terrorist suspect. The DGAC,
LAN and American Airlines expressed full commitment to implementing
TSA security measures, but noted legal concerns regarding
pat-downs, along with the logistical challenges that must be
addressed.

4. Meeting participants included Hector Barrientos National
Director for Airports and Aeronautical Services, DGAC; Juan Luis
Rodriguez, Chief sub-department Airport Services, DGAC; Eduardo del
Canto, Chief of Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez Airport, DGAC; Jos????
Ili, Chief of Security, Santiago Airport, DGAC; Eduardo Tapia, MFA;
Francisco Sotomayor, Security Manager, LAN; Gabriela Peralta,
Airport Manager, American Airlines; and, Jean Paul Riquelme,
International Security Coordinator, American Airlines. Delta, the
third carrier that operates direct, non-stop flights to the U.S.,
did not attend the meeting. Post has subsequently been in contact
with Pablo Terciera, the Delta representative covering Chile
operations from Argentina.

5. The three airlines operate a total of five daily, non-stop

SANTIAGO 00001270 002 OF 002


flights to four U.S. cities -- Atlanta, Dallas, Miami and New York
-- transporting over 1,000 passengers per day. Currently, American
and LAN each operate two flights per day and Delta operates has one
flight per day. All flights depart Santiago in the evening,
between 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. local time.

6. At the meeting, DGAC and airline reps advised that
pat-downs/body searches are prohibited by Chile's constitution
unless there is reasonable cause/suspicious behavior. Several
alternatives were discussed to overcome this legal obstacle. LAN
Chile also indicated that they have explosive-detecting wands that
they could use, but the other airlines do not have this technology.
This raised the further concern that uneven implementation of
security measures among the airlines might result in public
perception that U.S. airlines had received some sort of special
dispensation from TSA. Emboffs acknowledged this concern and
suggested the airlines develop a joint proposal for implementation
of the security directives for TSA approval.

Communication and Cooperation Among Airlines - Current Status of
Security Measures

--------------------------------------------- ----------------------
----------------------------------------

7. Airline representatives met again on December 30 to attempt to
coordinate a proposal for TSA approval. All three airlines are
currently coordinating with DGAC to use six PDI-trained/handled
explosive-sniffing canines to screen all U.S.-bound passengers at
boarding gates. All three airlines also report that, although
there have been some delays, U.S.-bound travelers have been
generally cooperative.

8. Regarding the TSA requirement for 100% pat-downs, Delta and
American maintain that they cannot pat down passengers without
legal authority. LAN security manager Sotomayor advises that many
of their passengers non-stop flights to the U.S. are under-going
pat-downs performed by LAN employees after providing oral,
voluntary authorization; for women the pat-down is more
superficial; babies, young children, and teenagers under 16 who are
traveling with their parents are excluded from pat-downs; and LAN's
lawyers are in the process of developing a voluntary authorization
form to be signed by consenting passengers. Furthermore, Sotomayor
advises he has been in contact with TSA Miami (John Devine) to
strategize on ways to establish common practices with Delta and
American.

Comment

------------

9. Post is maintaining regular contact with the MFA, DGAC and the
airlines, to pass information and keep up to date on implementation
measures. To date, coordination among civil aviation authorities
and the airlines has been excellent. Post strongly supports the
use of explosive-sniffing dogs as an interim security measure and
encourages DHS/TSA to continue to work with DGAC and the airlines
to ensure compliance with security requirements.
SIMONS

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