TSA issues stricter screening for cargo from five MidEast countries

TSA issues stricter screening for cargo from five MidEast countries
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Monday issued harsher screening rules for cargo traveling to the United States from five Middle Eastern countries due to terrorism concerns.

The agency will apply stricter screening rules for six airline carriers moving cargo to the U.S. from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

“These countries were chosen because of a demonstrated intent by terrorist groups to attack aviation from them,” the agency said.

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“TSA looks at threats emanating from each country uniquely, and cannot provide specific information about those threats, but after analyzing evaluated intelligence, we determined that we needed to expand the ACAS program within each of them at this time.”

The new rules apply to seven last point of departure airports, mandating that cargo from those five countries be screened to maintain compliance with the Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) program.

The agency cited a thwarted terrorist plot in Australia last year to bring down a passenger airline, saying the attempted attack was an “ominous reminder” that the TSA must continue to protect air travel.

An Australian official in August said the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria shipped explosive materials for a potential attack via cargo from Turkey, CNN reported at the time.

That plot caused the TSA in September to issue stricter screening rules for cargo traveling to the U.S. from Turkey.