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Athens Airport OK

November 09, 1986

I'd like to update you on security at Athens Airport. On Oct. 25 I departed Athens on Pan Am flight 61 for Frankfurt. On the street in front of the ticket counters were several uniformed and plainclothes police officers in both armored personnel carriers and unmarked cars. Two uniformed police officers with shouldered automatic weapons patroled the inner terminal.

Upon entering the check-in line at Pan Am a private security official looked at each passenger's passport and ticket, after which he asked a series of profile questions. All checked bags were X-rayed in the passenger's presence and marked with a security sticker.

I then proceeded through Passport Control and a security check of my carry-on bags and person done by police officers. No non-passengers are permitted beyond this point. You enter a sterile area occupied by in-transit and other airlines' departing passengers.

At the Pan Am departure gate I entered a segregated area after I was checked again, along with my carry-on bags, this time by private Pan Am employees. All passengers are then bused to the plane, which is on a remote pad away from the terminal.

The plane is surrounded by uniformed and plainclothes police. An armored personnel carrier is present, as well as marked and unmarked police cars and a police bomb dog. I noticed some of the police were wearing a blue T-shirt which displayed a logo from the U.S. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Arizona.

The checked luggage was spread out on the tarmac. No piece was loaded if the owner wasn't on board.

I asked a flight attendant if this was routine and she said it was. As a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent who has traveled the world and who has worked at LAX for several years I can state that I have never seen better security in a commercial airport than what I observed at Athens that Saturday.

JOHN M. MARCELLO

Los Angeles

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