A government report due to be issued later today indicates that nearly all air cargo in the United States remains unchecked for explosives. The report
also sites many other weaknesses in the Transportation Security Administration's general security policies. While all domestic luggage was checked
for explosives, only a small fraction of the 6 billion pounds of cargo was inspected for all of last year.
Nearly all of the cargo in the nation's aviation system goes unchecked for explosives, and policies aimed at thwarting cargo bombs on passenger
planes are flawed, according to a government report due out Wednesday.
Terrorists could foil the government's strategy for keeping bombs out of cargo holds by meeting a few basic requirements that would allow them to put
an explosives-laden package on a jet, the Government Accountability Office said.
Passenger planes carried 6 billion pounds of cargo last year, and only "a very small percentage" is inspected, the report said. By contrast, all
domestic luggage is scanned for bombs.
The GAO, a watchdog arm of Congress, urged the Transportation Security Administration to come up with ways to close cargo security loopholes. A study
should be done to track the steps in which cargo goes from shippers to the belly of an airplane, the GAO said.
"TSA has not taken needed steps to identify shippers who may pose a security threat," the report said.
The TSA said in a statement Tuesday that it has improved cargo security but "recognizes the need to do more."
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said air cargo "is an opening which al-Qaeda can exploit." He requested the GAO report last year with four House
members from both parties. All cargo should be inspected before going on passenger planes, Markey said.
The TSA objects to the idea, saying it would cost the government $3.6 billion over 10 years and could delay cargo shipments.
The agency allows cargo on passenger planes only from shippers that meet certain security requirements. Air carriers must randomly inspect some cargo.
But the GAO said the criteria "may not ... deter or prevent terrorists." The report said a significant portion of cargo is exempt from random
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Yet another joke concerning the war on terror. The TSA ridiculously pursues nail clippers, cigarette lighters and other incidentals, but cares
nothing for what is going into the belly of the plane.
There is no intelligence in the TSA. Want the proof? Go to an airport and watch for yourselves. I have personally seen them wand/scan the bare feet of
women wearing sandals who were asked to have them removed as they passed through security checkpoints.
Our sea ports are equally neglected and our boarders are like Swiss cheese.
What are we doing to protect ourselves? We sent the bulk of our military resources to fight a preemptive war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our FBI utilizes
its resources to pursue the reading habits of its citizenry. Meanwhile, Congress and the people are asleep at the switch, and the TSA is harassing
some poor old lady from Kansas, because her cane needs to be scanned- all in the name of security...
Where is the accountability? Why aren't people more angry? Are we really any safer? Are we really that stupid?
The whole thing is a farce.
[edit on 16-11-2005 by loam]