NOVEMBER 17, 2005
If you thought waiting in long lines to have airport security check everything from your shoes to your baby stroller was frustrating, read on. Those extensive and sometimes invasive security screenings can’t protect you if objects that occupy 50% of the plane’s belly are potentially lethal.
A new federal report from the Government Accountability Office says that hardly any of the 23 billion pounds of commercial cargo shipped yearly by air get screened. Most of the cargo travels on passenger planes and the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for assuring their safety.
The damaging, 94-page report also says that the federal Transportation Security Administration has not tracked past security breaches that could provide information to bolster security and that the agency has kept incomplete records on so-called “known shippers.”
The Coalition for Luggage Security, which has been fighting to improve luggage and cargo screening since the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, immediately sent out a statement imploring federal authorities to pay close attention to the GAO report. It says, in part: “We are only minutes away from a national disaster dwarfing our horrific Twin Tower tragedy. We require grandmothers to remove their sneakers, but still cannot control what’s going in the suitcases or cargo of that same plane.”
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