U.S. Issues Tougher Air Cargo Rules for NY, National Airports

Measures In Response to Thwarted Bomb Plot

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    FILE - In this Oct. 30 2010 file photo, FedEx and UPS cargo planes sit on the tarmac of the north cargo terminal area at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta. The glaring weakness of the cargo shipping system has been laid bare by the Yemen-based mail bomb plot _ but the cost of fixing it may be too high for governments, airlines and shippers to stomach during a global downturn. Analysts warn that the cost of screening every piece of air cargo in a bid to prevent terrorists from downing airliners might bankrupt international shipping companies, hobble already weakened airlines and still would not provide full protection. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser, File)

    The foiled bomb plot that had Newark and JFK airports on high alert last month has led to tougher security for U.S. bound packages.

    Federal officials announced Monday that the ban on air cargo from Yemen has been extended to packages from Somalia.

    Passenger planes also won't carry "high risk" cargo or toner and ink cartridges that weigh more than one pound, according to tougher security rules put in place on Monday.

    The new measures were prompted by last month's thwarted plot to send bombs hidden inside printer components to Chicago-area synagogues via cargo planes. A tip from a Saudi informant led officials in Great Britain and Dubai to safely recover two such bomb-laden packages sent from Yemen.

    Bomb squads searched cargo planes in Newark and Philadelphia as well as a UPS truck in Brooklyn on October 29, while fighter jets that day also escorted a passenger jet carrying cargo from Yemen to JFK. No explosives were found.

    Cargo considered "high risk" will undergo enhanced screening when headed to the U.S. on planes with no passengers, said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

    Napolitano said the immediate ban on packages from Yemen is extended indefinitely and now includes its African neighbor across the Gulf of Aden, Somalia, which also considered a terrorist base.

    In addition, international mail packages headed to the U.S. must be screened individually and come from an established postal shipper.

    Federal officials are also urging cargo carriers like UPS, Federal Express and DHL to report their cargo manifests faster and to help identify which packages could be high risk, based on current intelligence.