WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office today released a report addressing the effectiveness of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) efforts to secure air cargo while it is being handled on the ground. This report uncovered security violations and vulnerabilities and concluded that our nation’s air cargo is vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, released this statement about the findings:
“I am alarmed to learn the results of a recent federal investigation into the security of our air cargo system. The probe revealed serious security lapses during the time that air cargo is handled on the ground. In one case, undercover government investigators gained access to already-screened cargo ready to be placed aboard a passenger aircraft. This breach could have provided the opportunity for an explosive device to be placed into the cargo shipment completely undetected. In other cases, investigators gained entry through doors that were unlocked or that had defective locks, and they were met by disinterested employees who did not prevent access to restricted areas.
“Although the percentage of facilities breached was relatively small, any lapse in security could have disastrous consequences,” she said. “That is why I am calling upon TSA to take urgent and aggressive action to close these gaps. We cannot expose the traveling public to this vulnerability. The TSA also must redouble its efforts on employee background checks, training and testing.”
Each year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides security for 12 million pounds of cargo being shipped aboard passenger aircraft. Since 9/11, America has made important strides to help ensure that air cargo is properly screened and secured before placement on these planes.
The report is avaliable at http://www.dhs.gov/xoig/assets/mgmtrpts/OIGr_10-09_Nov09.pdf