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

Cite as:49 U.S.C. § 44901
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
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(a) IN GENERAL.-The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration 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), except as otherwise provided in section 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.

(d) EXPLOSIVES DETECTION SYSTEMS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration 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, 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) 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 Administrator of the 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 Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, 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 Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration 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 Administrator 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 and until the requirements of subsection (b)(1)(A) are met, the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration 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 Administrator.

(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.

(g) AIR CARGO ON PASSENGER AIRCRAFT.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-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.

(3) REGULATIONS.-The Secretary of Homeland Security shall issue a final rule as a permanent regulation to implement this subsection in accordance with the provisions of chapter 5 of title 5.

(4) SCREENING DEFINED.-In this subsection the term "screening" means a physical examination or non-intrusive methods of assessing whether cargo poses a threat to transportation security. Methods of screening include x-ray systems, explosives detection systems, explosives trace detection, explosives detection canine teams certified by the Transportation Security Administration, or a physical search together with manifest verification. The Administrator may approve additional methods to ensure that the cargo does not pose a threat to transportation security and to assist in meeting the requirements of this subsection. Such additional cargo screening methods shall not include solely performing a review of information about the contents of cargo or verifying the identity of a shipper of the cargo that is not performed in conjunction with other security methods authorized under this subsection, including whether a known shipper is registered in the known shipper database. Such additional cargo screening methods may include a program to certify the security methods used by shippers pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) and alternative screening methods pursuant to exemptions referred to in subsection (b) of section 1602 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.

(h) DEPLOYMENT OF ARMED PERSONNEL.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall order the deployment of law enforcement personnel authorized to carry firearms at each airport security screening location to ensure passenger safety and national security.

(2) MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS.-Except at airports required to enter into agreements under subsection (c), the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall order the deployment of at least 1 law enforcement officer at each airport security screening location. At the 100 largest airports in the United States, in terms of annual passenger enplanements for the most recent calendar year for which data are available, the Administrator shall order the deployment of additional law enforcement personnel at airport security screening locations if the Administrator determines that the additional deployment is necessary to ensure passenger safety and national security.

(i) EXEMPTIONS AND ADVISING CONGRESS ON REGULATIONS.-The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration-

(1) may exempt from this section air transportation operations, except scheduled passenger operations of an air carrier providing air transportation under a certificate issued under section 41102 of this title or a permit issued under section 41302 of this title; and

(2) shall advise Congress of a regulation to be prescribed under this section at least 30 days before the effective date of the regulation, unless the Administrator decides an emergency exists requiring the regulation to become effective in fewer than 30 days and notifies Congress of that decision.

(j) BLAST-RESISTANT CARGO CONTAINERS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall-

(A) evaluate the results of the blast-resistant cargo container pilot program that was initiated before August 3, 2007; and

(B) prepare and distribute through the Aviation Security Advisory Committee to the appropriate Committees of Congress and air carriers a report on that evaluation which may contain nonclassified and classified sections.

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