9/11 commissioners point to security gap in air cargo
Explosives in the cargo hold of a plane are a greater threat than terrorists getting on board and hijacking a passenger plane, Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, said Sunday on the TV news program “Meet the Press.”
The 9/11 Commission is scheduled to release a report today critical of Congress and the Bush administration for failing to implement many of its recommendations for improving homeland security. Among the vulnerabilities the commission identified in its report one year ago is cargo security on planes.
“We’ve now developed machinery that can detect some of these explosives going into the cargo hold but we haven’t installed it yet. And it doesn’t do any good being invented and not installed,” said Thomas Kean, chairman of the commission.
Part of the problem, according to industry officials, is that the technology still hasn’t been adapted to fit within normal air cargo operations and accept irregular pieces of cargo. The Transportation Security Administration hasn’t finalized proposed rules to tighten air cargo security and bills in Congress for 100 percent screening have been defeated so far.