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Tuesday
Nov162010

New Bill to Address 'Gaping Hole' in Aviation Security

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Amid increased concern over cargo security, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., proposed a bill in a letter to House colleagues that would extend security screening mandates to 100 percent of airplane cargo.

The bill would act as an extension to a similar law authored by Markey in 2007, which required the screening of all cargo aboard domestic and international passenger planes in the United States.

“Al Qaeda continues to put aviation at the top of its terrorist target list, and our nation must close the cargo loophole that continues to put lives and our economy at risk,” said Markey, adding that terrorists have begun to turn their attention to less protected all-cargo aircrafts. 

The Air Cargo Security Act would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a system that would screen 100 percent of cargo transported on all-cargo aircrafts within three years, with half of the cargo screened within 18 months.

New passenger screening techniques also came to the forefront Tuesday.

While on Capitol Hill to discuss cargo security, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole, was asked about also Advanced Imaging Technology (full body scanners) and enhanced pat-downs. 

Pistole defended the TSA’s techniques, saying that the agency has to balance privacy concerns with flight security.  Meanwhile, a website is calling on passengers to “opt out” of the full-body scans during Thanksgiving travel, when an estimated 24 million passengers will take to the skies.

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