Exclusive: Air Cargo Company Under Investigation by TSA
CBS News has learned that the TSA is investigating allegations that an air cargo company in the Midwest failed to screen for possible bombs and explosives in millions of pounds of cargo carried on international passenger flights over the last eight months.
TSA has recently dispatched inspectors to the Indianapolis company, formerly known as Activair, to conduct an inquiry.
The cargo company is a division of OHL, a large global third party logistics firm headquartered in Tennessee.
"We are cooperating fully," said Kara Brown, OHL spokesperson in acknowledging the TSA inquiry. In an email to CBS News yesterday she said the company was "participating in a number of interviews and sharing information as requested by the TSA."
The company voluntarily removed the Indianapolis facility from TSA's Certified Cargo Screening Facility (CCSF) program earlier this month after TSA brought the allegations to their attention according to Brown.
"OHL thought suspending CCSF in Indianapolis was an appropriate, prudent and proactive procedure to undertake until further TSA conversations and OHL internal fact finding is complete," Brown said.
The former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security Clark Kent Ervin said if the allegations against OHL prove to be true they are "very troubling."
Ervin who is currently head of the Homeland Security Program at the Aspen Institute said, ""If it's widely known that in fact the shippers and forwarders don't do [the screening] very well, or at all, then it is a vulnerability that terrorists will exploit."
Since August 2010, all air cargo carried onto passenger flights originating in the United States is required to be screened by federal law.
In a statement to CBS, a TSA spokesman said, "If a facility is found not to be in compliance, TSA will take immediate action if necessary." TSA has more than 500 cargo inspectors to ensure that airlines and Certified Cargo Screening Facilities meet their standards of screening 100% of cargo on passenger flights originating in the U.S., according to a statement from the TSA.
According to its website, OHL is one of the largest third party logistics companies in the world. The company's Indianapolis branch specializes in shipping for the publishing industry.
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