Known Shipper Program
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) accepts that 100% physical screening of all cargo is not possible as no single technology is currently available to screen all cargo, for various types of explosives threat, effectively and comprehensively. The TSA has therefore adopted a strategy which heavily relies on examining and evaluation shippers through government certified agents and certifying them. This is done through a system called “Known Shipper” .The TSA then screen shipments against the database of those shippers to verify security.
The “Known Shipper” system is itself flawed, as little investigation of these shippers is required to show that they are trustworthy. Any consignment from them is not subject to any security check or X-Ray, until someone suspects it. This flaw can be easily exploited by terrorists, who can temper the shipment at any of the number of point it goes through before it reaches the aircraft (Bloom, 2006).
Transport of US Mail
The transportation of US mail onboard aircrafts itself presents unique challenges to prevent illegal and hazardous material and the introduction of explosives. The Postal Service regards First Class, Priority and Express mail items as private materials which are protected under the Fourth Amendment against search, making the inspection of these items very difficult. Furthermore, the employees Postal Service do not question individuals sending less than 1 pounds of package, thereby increasing chances of sending explosives in small packages.
Online Tracking of Parcels
Several large courier companies like FedEx and UPS offer Internet base services to the customers. This includes online tracking of the parcels. Though a very useful facility to genuine customers, it can easily be exploited by terrorists planning to blow up aircraft, for a fair indication of when the aircraft will be in air (Elias, 2007).