National Security

Published — March 10, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

GAO: TSA screening of air cargo can’t be verified


The Transportation Security Administration reported last August that it met its mandate to screen 100 percent of air cargo. But the Government Accountability Office says TSA cannot verify the accuracy of the data it used, according to a recent report.

Airline industry representatives report screening data to the TSA, but the government has no way to verify the accuracy of the data. TSA cannot cross-reference its local screening logs, which have information on specific shipments, with the reports submitted by air carriers to TSA.

Another area of concern is the cargo transported on pallets or containers. No technology is currently approved by TSA to screen cargo once it’s loaded onto a large-sized pallet — a common means of transporting air cargo on passenger aircrafts.

“Questions exist about the reliability of TSA’s reported screening data for inbound cargo because TSA does not have a mechanism to verify the accuracy of the data reported by industry,” the GAO report said. “TSA officials stated that current screening percentages are based on actual data reported by air carriers, but stated that it is difficult to verify the accuracy of the screening data reported by air carriers.”

FAST FACT: In 2009, about 6.5 billion pounds of cargo were transported on U.S. passenger flights—approximately 56 percent of which was transported domestically and 44 percent of which was transported on flights entering the U.S.

Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities.


  • A stimulus project to build wind turbines and photovoltaic panels at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, had insufficient planning and did not include necessary wind studies prior to the project’s considerations. As a result, the $1.5 million slated for the project will be returned to the Army energy conservation project program. (DOD Inspector General)


  • The office of the inspector general investigated 1,700 health care fraud investigations in 2010. More than $3 billion is expected to be recovered from the investigations. (DHHS Inspector General)

Read more in National Security

Share this article

Join the conversation

Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Notify of