The Transportation Security Administration’s known shipper program does not provide the security intended, according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.
In a report dated March 5, the inspector general said that TSA does not sufficiently define the ways a carrier may verify a known shipper, nor can it validate entries in a database of known shippers.
At the same time the Known Shipper Management System, which is to replace existing verification programs, has been delayed by technical problems and unresolved policy questions.
TSA established the known shipper program after the 9-11 terrorist attacks to improve passenger aircraft security only taking cargo from parties that were known to the airline.
The report noted that TSA had set an October 2007 target date for mandatory use of the shipper management system. In March 2008 it notified carriers to use the other accepted methods of validation until further notice.
In addition to fixing the problems with the Known Shipper Management System, the inspector general’s office recommended that TSA provide more guidance to carriers verifying known shippers, and to inspectors who validate compliance with the program.
A redacted copy of the report may be found online at http://www.dhs.gov/xoig/assets/mgmtrpts/OIGr_09-35_Mar09.pdf