Cargo pilots have long complained that the government focuses most of its efforts on protecting passenger airliners from terrorist attacks, leaving cargo planes vulnerable. They point out that cargo planes could also be seized by terrorists and used as weapons.
Some lawmakers have criticized the Bush administration for screening airline passengers and their luggage but not inspecting the cargo that's carried on the same plane.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said billions of pounds of air cargo is loaded onto passenger planes every year without being scanned at all.
"The Bush administration missed an important opportunity to close a major homeland security loophole today when it announced a final air cargo rule that fails to require inspection of 100 percent of the cargo carried aboard passenger planes," Markey said.
Hawley said focusing on packages misses the vulnerability, because a terrorist who works at an airport could slip bombs into the cargo hold after each package has been inspected.
The TSA's long-awaited plan - it was originally proposed in November 2004 - includes new regulations for restricting access to sections of airports used for loading and unloading cargo.
Landing the Big One
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The TSA may finally be acting on air cargo security issues as reported here: