49 U.S.C. § 44901 - Screening passengers and property

Cite as:49 U.S.C. § 44901
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-21 (6/12/2019)
 
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(a) IN GENERAL.-The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall provide for the screening of all passengers and property, including United States mail, cargo, carry-on and checked baggage, and other articles, that will be carried aboard a passenger aircraft operated by an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air transportation or intrastate air transportation. In the case of flights and flight segments originating in the United States, the screening shall take place before boarding and shall be carried out by a Federal Government employee (as defined in section 2105 of title 5, United States Code), except as otherwise provided in section 44919 or 44920 and except for identifying passengers and baggage for screening under the CAPPS and known shipper programs and conducting positive bag-match programs.

(b) SUPERVISION OF SCREENING.-All screening of passengers and property at airports in the United States where screening is required under this section shall be supervised by uniformed Federal personnel of the Transportation Security Administration who shall have the power to order the dismissal of any individual performing such screening.

(c) CHECKED BAGGAGE.-A system must be in operation to screen all checked baggage at all airports in the United States as soon as practicable but not later than the 60th day following the date of enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.

(d) EXPLOSIVES DETECTION SYSTEMS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall take all necessary action to ensure that-

(A) explosives detection systems are deployed as soon as possible to ensure that all United States airports described in section 44903(c) have sufficient explosives detection systems to screen all checked baggage no later than December 31, 2002, and that as soon as such systems are in place at an airport, all checked baggage at the airport is screened by those systems; and

(B) all systems deployed under subparagraph (A) are fully utilized; and

(C) if explosives detection equipment at an airport is unavailable, all checked baggage is screened by an alternative means.

(2) DEADLINE.-

(A) IN GENERAL.-If, in his discretion or at the request of an airport, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security determines that the Transportation Security Administration is not able to deploy explosives detection systems required to be deployed under paragraph (1) at all airports where explosives detection systems are required by December 31, 2002, then with respect to each airport for which the Under Secretary makes that determination-

(i) the Under Secretary shall submit to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure a detailed plan (which may be submitted in classified form) for the deployment of the number of explosives detection systems at that airport necessary to meet the requirements of paragraph (1) as soon as practicable at that airport but in no event later than December 31, 2003; and

(ii) the Under Secretary shall take all necessary action to ensure that alternative means of screening all checked baggage is implemented until the requirements of paragraph (1) have been met.

(B) CRITERIA FOR DETERMINATION.-In making a determination under subparagraph (A), the Under Secretary shall take into account-

(i) the nature and extent of the required modifications to the airport's terminal buildings, and the technical, engineering, design and construction issues;

(ii) the need to ensure that such installations and modifications are effective; and

(iii) the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of deploying explosives detection systems in the baggage sorting area or other non-public area rather than the lobby of an airport terminal building.

(C) RESPONSE.-The Under Secretary shall respond to the request of an airport under subparagraph (A) within 14 days of receiving the request. A denial of request shall create no right of appeal or judicial review.

(D) AIRPORT EFFORT REQUIRED.-Each airport with respect to which the Under Secretary makes a determination under subparagraph (A) shall-

(i) cooperate fully with the Transportation Security Administration with respect to screening checked baggage and changes to accommodate explosives detection systems; and

(ii) make security projects a priority for the obligation or expenditure of funds made available under chapter 417 or 471 until explosives detection systems required to be deployed under paragraph (1) have been deployed at that airport.

(3) REPORTS.-Until the Transportation Security Administration has met the requirements of paragraph (1), the Under Secretary shall submit a classified report every 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure describing the progress made toward meeting such requirements at each airport.

(4) PRECLEARANCE AIRPORTS.-

(A) IN GENERAL.-For a flight or flight segment originating at an airport outside the United States and traveling to the United States with respect to which checked baggage has been screened in accordance with an aviation security preclearance agreement between the United States and the country in which such airport is located, the Assistant Secretary (Transportation Security Administration) may, in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, determine whether such baggage must be re-screened in the United States by an explosives detection system before such baggage continues on any additional flight or flight segment.

(B) AVIATION SECURITY PRECLEARANCE AGREEMENT DEFINED.-In this paragraph, the term "aviation security preclearance agreement" means an agreement that delineates and implements security standards and protocols that are determined by the Assistant Secretary, in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to be comparable to those of the United States and therefore sufficiently effective to enable passengers to deplane into sterile areas of airports in the United States.

(C) RESCREENING REQUIREMENT.-If the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration determines that the government of a foreign country has not maintained security standards and protocols comparable to those of the United States at airports at which preclearance operations have been established in accordance with this paragraph, the Administrator shall ensure that Transportation Security Administration personnel rescreen passengers arriving from such airports and their property in the United States before such passengers are permitted into sterile areas of airports in the United States.

(D) REPORT.-The Assistant Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate an annual report on the re-screening of baggage under this paragraph. Each such report shall include the following for the year covered by the report:

(i) A list of airports outside the United States from which a flight or flight segment traveled to the United States for which the Assistant Secretary determined, in accordance with the authority under subparagraph (A), that checked baggage was not required to be re-screened in the United States by an explosives detection system before such baggage continued on an additional flight or flight segment.

(ii) The amount of Federal savings generated from the exercise of such authority.

(e) MANDATORY SCREENING WHERE EDS NOT YET AVAILABLE.-As soon as practicable but not later than the 60th day following the date of enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act and until the requirements of subsection (b)(1)(A) are met, the Under Secretary shall require alternative means for screening any piece of checked baggage that is not screened by an explosives detection system. Such alternative means may include 1 or more of the following:

(1) A bag-match program that ensures that no checked baggage is placed aboard an aircraft unless the passenger who checked the baggage is aboard the aircraft.

(2) Manual search.

(3) Search by canine explosives detection units in combination with other means.

(4) Other means or technology approved by the Under Secretary.

(f) CARGO DEADLINE.-A system must be in operation to screen, inspect, or otherwise ensure the security of all cargo that is to be transported in all-cargo aircraft in air transportation and intrastate air transportation as soon as practicable after the date of enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.

(g) AIR CARGO ON PASSENGER AIRCRAFT.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish a system to screen 100 percent of cargo transported on passenger aircraft operated by an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air transportation or intrastate air transportation to ensure the security of all such passenger aircraft carrying cargo.

(2) MINIMUM STANDARDS.-The system referred to in paragraph (1) shall require, at a minimum, that equipment, technology, procedures, personnel, or other methods approved by the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, are used to screen cargo carried on passenger aircraft described in paragraph (1) to provide a level of security commensurate with the level of security for the screening of passenger checked baggage as follows:

(A) 50 percent of such cargo is so screened not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.

(B) 100 percent of such cargo is so screened not later than 3 years after such date of enactment.

(3) REGULATIONS.-

(A) INTERIM FINAL RULE.-The Secretary of Homeland Security may issue an interim final rule as a temporary regulation to implement this subsection without regard to the provisions of chapter 5 of title 5.

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