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Report: Cargo On 'Overflights' Isn't Screened Like U.S.-Bound Shipments

Dec 27, 2010

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This headline from The Washington Post is getting attention today:

"Cargo That Flies Over The United States Doesn't Get Screened To Federal Standards."

The gist of the story:

Cargo aboard planes crossing U.S. airspace on the way to Canada, Mexico and Europe "is not screened to federal standards and passenger lists are not matched to names on the terrorist watch list maintained by the Transportation Security Administration" if the jets aren't due to touch down on U.S. soil.

Yossi Sheffi, director of the Center for Transportation and Logistics at MIT, tells the Post it's unrealistic to expect that all such cargo be scanned as if it were destined for the U.S. But counterterrorism expert Richard Bloom of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona warns that terrorists could put dangerous materials aboard such flights.

Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman, tells the Post that "addressing routes that overfly the United States" is part of the next phase in implementation of the department's "Secure Flight" program.

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