MAY 04, 2007
Only a small percentage of air cargo bound for the United States from foreign countries is inspected even though laws passed after the 2001 terrorist attacks require it and Congress has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to get the job done.
Incredibly, the Department of Homeland Security agencies in charge of air safety admit that rarely is cargo inspected upon leaving a foreign country or entering the United States, leaving the country vulnerable to another massive terrorist attack with an aircraft.
The alarming negligence of the agency (Transportation Security Administration – TSA) created in response to the September 11 attacks to provide crucial passenger and cargo screening, is detailed in a congressional investigative report that also criticizes other agencies within the huge Department of Homeland Security.
Lawmakers requested the audit after hearing of numerous human stowaways hiding in cargo holds on international flights bound for the U.S. and cargo smuggling and theft reports at foreign facilities. Worried legislators concluded that terrorists could easily exploit the severe security lapses to transport explosives in cargo planes or to hijack the aircrafts.
Inspecting the massive amounts of air cargo that enters the country annually is no easy feat and investigators acknowledge it in the report. In fact, it includes informative graphics and statistics that break down the complicated process of this multi billion-dollar business.
The bottom line is, however, that the federal government agencies charged with assuring that air transportation is safe, are instead leaving the country extremely vulnerable to another terrorist attack.
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