Casey Introduces Air Cargo Screening Bill After Yemen Package Bomb Plot

Legislation would require screening of 100 percent of cargo carried on all-cargo aircraft

WASHINGTON, DC—Following the recent terrorist attempt to ship explosive devices from Yemen in packages, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced the Air Cargo Security Act to expand the 100% screening mandate to all-cargo aircraft.

“Terrorists intent on doing us harm have shown that they will adapt and try new tactics,” said Senator Casey.  “It is imperative that threats are constantly assessed and procedures put in place to ensure the safety of the American people.  Requiring 100% of cargo aircraft to be screened will add another layer of defense as we continue to hunt down terrorists.”       

The Air Cargo Security Act strengthens security by directing the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to:

•    Develop a system to screen 100 percent of cargo transported on all-cargo aircraft within 3 years, with half of the cargo screened within 18 months;

•    Establish a system for the regular inspection of shipping facilities for shipments of air cargo transported on all-cargo planes for purposes of ensuring that appropriate security controls, systems, and protocols are observed; and

•    Enter into arrangements with government authorities of foreign countries to ensure that inspections are conducted on a regular basis at shipping facilities for cargo transported in air transportation to the United States.

Captain Bob Thrush, President of the Independent Pilots Association said: “As all-cargo airline pilots, we welcome Senator Casey's introduction of new legislation which will increase air cargo security screening standards.  Recently, we narrowly avoided a potentially devastating detonation of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) onboard an all-cargo jet. Not only does this jeopardize the lives of the pilots flying the
transport-category aircraft, but also those persons on the ground under the
flight path.  By acting now to shore up gaping holes in the screening
process, we reduce the likelihood of terrorist organizations being
successful in their efforts to bring down an all-cargo aircraft over a major
U.S. city.”
Earlier this month, Senator Casey sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking for a full assessment of cargo screening and the progress toward screening all cargo.  

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) has introduced the Air Cargo Security Act in the House.