Only 20% of cargo to U.S. checked for bombs

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Billions of pounds of packages bound for the U.S. each year are delivered on passenger flights in which cargo is checked with an electronic system that does not screen for bombs, lawmakers and security experts said Monday.

The Homeland Security Department uses computers to identify possibly dangerous cargo, usually after flights are already in the air and en route to the USA. Many of those flights are passenger planes carrying cargo in the hold.

“That’s too late. A bomb will go off while a plane is in the air,” said aviation security consultant Glen Winn, a former United Airlines security chief.

The tracking system is under scrutiny following last week's plot to sneak bombs into U.S.-bound planes using cargo packages sent from Yemen. At some overseas airports, cargo is checked for bombs before being put on planes, but that screening could be below U.S. security standards, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Full story: Only 20% of cargo to U.S. checked for bombs –