WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), author of the mandate in the law implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission (P.L. 110-53) that requires screening of all cargo carried on passenger planes by August 2010, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), an advocate for the screening mandate, today released the response from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to their letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano seeking information on the Department’s progress towards fulfilling the screening mandate.
“As the deadline for screening all cargo on passenger planes approaches in approximately 9 months, I am concerned that the 100 percent screening mandate may not be reached by the deadline established in the statute,” said Markey.
“I will continue to monitor the Department’s progress in this area with the goal of ensuring that, when August 2010 arrives, all airline passengers can be assured that all the cargo in the compartment beneath their feet is safe after being thoroughly and effectively screened,” Rep. Markey concluded.
“While I appreciate the complexity of implementing the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations on air cargo screening, there is no excuse for failing to reach the 100 percent screening mandate by next year’s deadline,” said Nadler. “The potential threats borne of unscreened cargo are all too real, and the urgency for action must not dissipate as the years progress. We must work harder to make 100 screening a reality.”
After the passage of Rep. Markey’s language establishing the 100 percent screening mandate in 2007, Rep. Markey joined with Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and other Members of Congress to request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct an extensive assessment and issue a report on the implementation of the air cargo screening mandate. That report is expected to be submitted to Congress early in 2010. Rep. Markey also participated in congressional oversight hearings on the subject held by the House Committee on Homeland Security on July 15, 2008 and March 18, 2009.
DHS previously indicated it will not meet the August 2010 deadline in the law for screening the billions of pounds of air cargo carried on passenger planes entering the United States. In its response to the letter that Representatives Markey and Nadler sent to Secretary Napolitano on November 6, 2009, DHS indicated that increased private sector participation in its Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) is needed to avoid delays in screening air cargo at airports within the U.S. by the deadline in the law. The 100 percent screening mandate is a vital security safeguard for airline passengers.
A copy of the letter can be found here: http://markey.house.gov/docs/dhsaircargo.pdf
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