GAO asked for air-cargo security exam

GAO asked for air-cargo security exam

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives wants the General Accounting Office to undertake what will likely be the most extensive examination of the security of the nation's air cargo.

The lawmakers, in a letter sent Wednesday, asked the GAO to determine what actions are being taken by all federal agencies to strengthen the security of air cargo transported on both commercial passenger aircraft and on all-cargo planes, heading to or from the United States. The lawmakers want to know if there is overlap or duplication of effort.

They also want to know about similar activities of foreign governments, as well as the steps taken by domestic passenger carriers, cargo carriers and freight forwarders to improve cargo security.

Finally, the letters asks GAO to determine whether the technology exists to screen 100 percent of air cargo, and what kinds of financial or other barriers exist to its implementation.

The letter was signed by Reps. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the Government Reform Committee; Christopher Cox, chairman of the Select Committee on Homeland Security; Jim Turner, D-Texas, ranking Democrat on the Select Committee on Homeland Security; Christopher Shays, R-Conn.; Dave Camp, R-Mich.; Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif.; and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.

-- Andrew Beadle