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Washington lawmakers call for hearing into Seattle plane theft

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Rick Larsen are calling for a congressional hearing into the theft of a plane at Sea-Tac Airport.

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell and Congressman Rick Larsen are calling for a congressional hearing into the theft of a plane at Sea-Tac Airport.

Cantwell and Larsen say the hearing is needed to discuss what, and if, changes can be made in cargo areas of airports like Sea-Tac.

In a statement, Cantwell specifically cited technological advances as a way to perhaps crackdown.

"I am particularly interested in hearing how technology could play a role in making sure aircraft that are not in service cannot be used inappropriately by airport workers who may have access to them to carry out their duties," wrote Cantwell to her colleagues.

EXTENDED: Sen. Maria Cantwell speaks about Seattle plane theft investigation

Earlier in the day, both elected leaders, who serve as the top Democrats on congressional subcommittees which oversee aviation, expressed concern over the ease in which a rogue employee was able to pilot the aircraft.

But Larsen told KING 5, there may not be significant federal funding for changes, and ultimately it may be up to the airlines to pay for any regulatory changes.

EXTENDED: Rep. Rick Larsen speaks about safety measures following stolen plane crash

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE STOLEN PLANE CRASH

Letter from Sen. Maria Cantwell:

Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson:

The recent theft of a Horizon Air aircraft from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport exposed an issue with our nation’s airport security protocols. In light of this incident, I request that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hold a hearing to examine aviation security protocols in order to prevent similar events from occurring again.

The FBI is leading an investigation into the incident in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board and several other federal and local agencies, and I look forward to reviewing their results.

A hearing would provide the Committee with an important opportunity to hear from the agencies and stakeholders directly involved in airport security. The Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, airlines, and airport operators all have important roles in maintaining security and responding to incidents, and they all could offer valuable insight to the members of the Committee.

The fact that this incident occurred at Sea-Tac, which is one of the few large airports in the country to require full screening for all employees who work in the sterile area, shows that we need to continually adapt security measures to meet new threats.

I am particularly interested in hearing how technology could play a role in making sure aircraft that are not in service cannot be used inappropriately by airport workers who may have access to them to carry out their duties.

Given the significant national security risks posed by the unauthorized flight of passenger aircraft, Congress needs to remain informed on the use and effectiveness of current security protocols.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.