TSA struggling to meet screening mandate

March 20, 2009 at 11:37 AM

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- U.S. congressional leaders are hoping to avoid having to push back a deadline that requires all cargo on passenger planes be screened for illicit items.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is working to meet the requirements of a 2007 bill that requires all cargo carried aboard passenger aircraft to undergo screening for weapons, explosives and other illicit items by 2010.

The screening requirement, which was a recommendation of the Sept. 11 Commission, includes both outgoing and incoming passenger air traffic to and from the United States.

According to a report from CongressDaily, Ed Kelly, TSA manager for air cargo, told the House Transportation Security Subcommittee on Wednesday that the TSA would likely be unable to meet the screening requirements for all incoming passenger air traffic.

Kelly cited technology shortfalls and the physical limitations of many airports among other concerns as challenges the TSA is facing in meeting requirements. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, House Homeland Security Transportation Security Subcommittee chairwoman, said congressional leaders would work to help the TSA with the cargo screening mandates.

"The push back, I think, should be our last resort," Jackson said, according to CongressDaily.

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