May 17, 2006- "Once Again, TSA Shrinks From Responsibility to Scan Cargo Placed on Passenger Planes"

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced new requirements regarding the cargo that is transported on passenger planes, but left unaddressed the complete failure of TSA to inspect or scan most of that cargo.  U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior Democrat serving on the House Homeland Security, and proponent of 100% inspection of all cargo carried on passenger planes made the following statement in response to the new regulations:

“The Bush Administration missed an important opportunity to close a major homeland security loophole today when it announced a final air cargo rule that fails to require inspection of 100 percent of the cargo carried aboard passenger planes.  While passengers take off their shoes, walk through metal detectors and send all their luggage through scanning machines before they board their flights, billions of pounds of air cargo is loaded onto the very same planes every year without being scanned at all.  This dangerous double standard leaves air passengers vulnerable to another terrorist attack not unlike the catastrophic explosion of PanAm 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.  It’s like locking your front door, but leaving your back door wide open,” said Rep. Markey.

“TSA Administrator Hawley described the close cooperation between TSA and industry in developing this rule.  What is missing is close cooperation with those who know the dangers of such a glaring aviation security loophole - the families of victims of the September 11th attacks, the flight attendants and airline pilots associations all support 100 percent inspection of all air cargo on passenger planes.  I will continue to work in Congress to tighten our aviation security by including a requirement that all cargo on passenger planes be inspected before it is placed onboard,” said Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey is the author of the H.R. 4373, the Safe Skies Cargo Inspection Act – legislation which would:

• Direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a system to inspect all cargo transported on passenger aircraft to ensure the security of all passenger aircraft carrying cargo operated by an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air transportation or intrastate air transportation.
• Ensure that equipment, technology, and personnel used to perform the cargo inspections meet the same standards established to inspect passenger baggage
• Phase the 100 percent inspection mandate in over three years

For more information on Rep. Markey’s effort to require 100% inspection  of cargo on passenger planes check out: http://markey.house.gov/

For Immediate Release
May 17, 2006

 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness
202.225.2836