The attempted attacks on two airliners in October gave new impetus to U.S. efforts to reach bilateral international agreements on air cargo security, Douglas Brittin, air cargo manager for the Transportation Security Administration, said Tuesday.
Brittin told reporters that the attempt by al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen to bring down aircraft with bombs concealed in laser printers alerted foreign governments to the seriousness of the threat, which has created a new atmosphere for negotiations.
"There is a general awareness and cooperative spirit," Brittin said, and foreign governments no longer believe that the U.S. is trying to dictate security policy.
"We didn't have that many in the queue," to discuss security, Brittin said, but after last month's incidents U.S. trading partners began reviewing security policies. Another incentive was a proposal last month by the International Civil Aviation Organization to amend its air cargo security doctrine to include risk management principles.
TSA is under a congressional order to screen all air cargo carried by passenger aircraft. The agency on Aug. 1 met its deadline for screening on domestic flights, but said it needs another two years to negotiate international agreements.
Brittin said that TSA can enforce security with individual airlines, but it would be better if all carriers were subject to uniform standards within an international agreement.
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