GAOTSA should move more quickly on domestic air cargo safety

Published 21 November 2005

Six billion pounds of air cargo are transported annually on passenger aircraft within the United States, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should move more quickly to complete an assessment of air cargo vulnerabilities. The GAO also said that the TSA should re-examine the rationale behind exempting some air cargo from random inspections. It said the administration also needs to develop measurements of whether carriers were complying with existing security requirements.

TSA personnel screens passengers and their baggage, but the security of air cargo is the responsibility of carriers. Measures have been taken to increase the safety of air cargo — random cargo inspections, pilot security checks, and a shippers database — but security experts say not enough has been done to prevent the smuggling of a bomb onto a passenger aircraft through a cargo shipment.

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