TSA's Cargo Explosives Screenings Raise Concerns

By Grant Stinchfield
|  Friday, Dec 18, 2009  |  Updated 11:35 PM CDT
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TSA's Cargo Explosives Screenings Raise Concerns

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TSA's Cargo Explosives Screenings Raise Concerns

While ten million pounds of cargo gets shipped through the United States daily in the bellies of commercial airliners, the Transportation Security Administration acknowledges only half of that cargo is screened for explosives.
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While ten million pounds of cargo gets shipped through the United States daily in the bellies of commercial airliners, the Transportation Security Administration acknowledges only half of that cargo is screened for explosives. 
 
On jumbo jets, most cargo comes pre-packaged on pallets or in large cargo bins. Logistically, the TSA said it currently does not have the capability to unpack and screen every box. Instead, the TSA said it has increased canine teams and surprise checks at airports across the country.

"They will check a 70-year-old grandmother to make sure they are not carrying any knitting needles, but they put cargo container(s) in the belly that may weigh two to 4,000 pounds and they have no idea what is in there, it's silly it's ridiculous," says aviation expert Denny Kelly.

The TSA insists all cargo on single aisle aircraft is screened, meaning 80 percent of the traveling public is safe. But Kelly points out, that means nothing to the rest of the people traveling on wide body aircraft.

Kelly said he believes the TSA will not meet their August federal deadline to screen 100% of all cargo on passenger aircraft.


"Something needs to be done about this," he said.

A recent report by the TSA's own inspector general found flaws in the cargo-screening process put travelers at risk.

Kelly warns the security holes need to be plugged soon,

"Something is going to happen, one of these days it's going to happen, there is just no question about that," he said.

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