WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The Transportation Security Administration has taken emergency action of air cargo from five predominantly Muslin countries.
It’s part of an effort to stay ahead of potential terror plots targeting aircraft. The new order covers all U.S. bound commercial flights from seven airports in Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. It affects six airlines.
Currently, all cargo loaded on flights to the U.S. is screened. But with a growing concern about terrorists sneaking a bomb onto a plane, the TSA administrator ordered these airlines to provide additional detailed information about all cargo headed to America.
The screening calls for details like where a package is coming from, who sent it, how it was sent, where has it been since it was mailed, where it’s going, and a what are its contents.
TSA said the goal is to spot shipments which are out of the ordinary. This order also gives TSA and Customs time and authority to have an airline do further screening if something appears amiss.
A TSA official said those countries were chosen because of a demonstrated intent by terrorist groups to attack aviation from them, according to the intelligence they’re received. That intel continues to center around bombs hidden in electronic devices that may be able to get past some screening equipment.
Also, intel from a foiled attack in Australia over the summer where a military grade explosive was sent via air cargo from Turkey continues to drive concern. Turkey is the only other country required to participate in this advanced screening program. Other airlines do participate on a voluntary basis.