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house Bill H.R. 4698

Improving Security at Foreign Airports With Flights Bound for America

Argument in favor

International flights bound for the U.S. need to be properly screened to ensure that no passengers or cargo pose a security threat at foreign airports before departure. The TSA should assess security vulnerabilities at airports servicing those flights and donate equipment to mitigate those threats if necessary.

operaman's Opinion
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03/24/2016
Better there than here. But I would wonder if here is any better than there. Our own TSA fails more often than a pregnancy test.
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Brian's Opinion
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03/24/2016
There is little advanced screening at foreign airports as many of these foreign airports do not have sufficient funding to invest in transportation security. Unless we implement incentives for foreign nations to improve airport security, they have little to no motivation to do proper screening on U.S. bound flights.
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Amador d 's Opinion
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03/24/2016
It is of the utmost importance to heighten security measures in all airports that have flights coming to America. This exactly why were having problems.
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Argument opposed

If a foreign airport that is the last point of departure for flights to the U.S. has security vulnerabilities, it’s the responsibility of airport operators to fix them without American assistance. TSA has enough of a problem already keeping domestic airports secure, and problematic foreign airports shouldn’t service U.S.-bound flights.

pgshpak's Opinion
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03/24/2016
Let's not increase budget for the TSA, an agency who couldn't tell their ass from their elbow, even if they had a four year degree in "Separate Spheres of Ass and Elbowry in American Culture."
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ark4162's Opinion
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03/24/2016
WTF are you doing running some other country's airports? If their airport isn't safe, don't let them fly here, period. If they can't fly to America they'll fix their security in a big hurry. No need for us to do anything or spend a dime other than for a phone call to said country.
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Dennis's Opinion
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03/24/2016
The airlines and foreign governments need to step up to get this done.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4698?

This bill would require the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) to conduct airport security assessments and make a plan to improve security at foreign airports that service direct flights into the U.S.

Within 180 days of this bill’s enactment, the Administrator of the TSA would have to develop a comprehensive security risk assessment for each "last point of departure" airports that considers:

  • The level of coordination between TSA and the government of the foreign country where the last point of departure airport is located, including the country’s intelligence and threat mitigation capabilities;

  • The number of known or suspected terrorists annually transiting through the airport;

  • Passenger security screening practices, capabilities, and capacity at the airport;

  • The security vetting undergone by aviation workers at the airport;

  • Access controls used to prevent unauthorized access to secure and sterile areas of the airport.

A security coordination enhancement plan would be required to be submitted by the TSA Administrator to Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) within 240 days of this bill’s enactment. The plan would look to enhance coordination and information sharing for international flights destined for the U.S. between a variety of partners including air carriers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and federal agencies with the goal of improving security.

The TSA would be authorized to donate screening equipment to the operator of a foreign last point of departure airport that services flights to the U.S. if it can mitigate a specific security vulnerability. Before making any donation, the TSA would have to explain to Congress:

  • why the recipient can’t or won’t purchase the equipment;
  • how it will be maintained;
  • the total value of the donation; 
  • and an evacuation plan for sensitive technology in the event of instability.

Impact

Airline passengers coming and going from the U.S.; air carriers; foreign operators of airports that serve as the last point of departure for flights into the U.S.; Congress; and the TSA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4698

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. John Katko (R-NY) introduced this bill to ensure that people flying to the U.S. from foreign airports receive the same level of scrutiny they would receive when departing an American airport:

“In order to keep our country safe, we must ensure that individuals traveling from last point of departure airports are held to the same scrutiny as individuals within our country.  Today’s legislation is a result of tremendous bipartisan efforts on the House Homeland Security Committee to improve airport access controls and employee vetting both throughout the United States and at foreign airports that have direct flights to the United States.”

This legislation currently has four bipartisan cosponsors in the House — including three Republicans and one Democrat.


Of Note: In recent years there have been several plots to carry out acts of terrorism against airliners departing foreign airports en route to the U.S. Two of the most notable examples were inspired by Al Qaeda and nearly successful, but both the attempts of the 2001 shoe bomber and 2009 underwear bomber were foiled only because the explosive devices malfunctioned.

The March 22, 2016 attack at the Brussels Airport occurred near check-in areas for several major American airlines that offer direct flights from the Belgian capital to the U.S. This has led some, including the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to question whether that was done intentionally to target Americans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user DavidWilson1949)

AKA

Securing Aviation from Foreign Entry Points and Guarding Airports Through Enhanced Security Act of 2016

Official Title

To enhance aviation by requiring airport security assessments and a security coordination enhancement plan, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed April 26th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security
    IntroducedMarch 3rd, 2016

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    Better there than here. But I would wonder if here is any better than there. Our own TSA fails more often than a pregnancy test.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    Let's not increase budget for the TSA, an agency who couldn't tell their ass from their elbow, even if they had a four year degree in "Separate Spheres of Ass and Elbowry in American Culture."
    Like (61)
    Follow
    Share
    WTF are you doing running some other country's airports? If their airport isn't safe, don't let them fly here, period. If they can't fly to America they'll fix their security in a big hurry. No need for us to do anything or spend a dime other than for a phone call to said country.
    Like (40)
    Follow
    Share
    The airlines and foreign governments need to step up to get this done.
    Like (10)
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    There is little advanced screening at foreign airports as many of these foreign airports do not have sufficient funding to invest in transportation security. Unless we implement incentives for foreign nations to improve airport security, they have little to no motivation to do proper screening on U.S. bound flights.
    Like (8)
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    TSA already can't do its job on our own airports. I'd say nay because it would put a lot of stress on the TSA which is undertrained and underfunded (like every other federal program and I think it would be difficult to enforce our own laws in other countries and may make the United States seem more nosey than it already is.
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    Why would we spend $$$ on foreign airports when we don't spend $$$ on US airports. Get your priorities together! We do not control the entire freaking world! And shouldn't make an attempt to. The world is dangerous. There is no way to eliminate all danger. Stop this fear-based idiocy!
    Like (5)
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    The TSA is totally useless, studies have found that 90% of the time bombs make it through TSA testing.
    Like (4)
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    It is of the utmost importance to heighten security measures in all airports that have flights coming to America. This exactly why were having problems.
    Like (4)
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    No question that there is
    Like (2)
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    TSA has never prevented a terror attack and never will, it is merely a feel good comfort system that doesn't need more money thrown at it.
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    As an aviation worker I feel strongly that airport and airline security be comprehensive to protect the traveling public and the industry as a whole
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    Safety
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    Yes. To be applied immediately. It's no longer adequate to address safety at the border. The US as known destination should be accompanied by stricter point of origin guidelines.
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    Why does the US have to parent everyone else? Let them do their part.
    Like (1)
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    Absolutely. But get rid of the incompetent TSA, and use Marines.
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    Let other airports dictate their security
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    I really care about this bill
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    Security was severely tightened by the US in all world airports post 9-11. The strictures have not been relaxed. No additional measures are needed.
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    While many don't agree with TSA and what they've done. They have kept our airports safe. I haven't heard of any major issues with security and safety in our airports. If airports aren't secure in certain countries, then we shouldn't allow flights there. Plain and simple but we can't burden everyone's problem.
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