Washington was to announce yesterday new airline security measures for US-bound passengers that scraps screening for specific countries to focus on profiles of potential terrorists, US media said.
The new approach replaces the mandatory enhanced screening of all passengers traveling to the US from 14 nations, most of which are Muslim, which was imposed following a young Nigerian’s failed Christmas Day al-Qaeda plot to blow up an airplane traveling to Detroit, Michigan, from Amsterdam.
The announcement to be made by the US Department of Homeland Security follows a three-month review of security protocols since the botched bombing attempt, said the New York Times, citing senior administration officials.
The new measures to begin this month involve travelers’ personal characteristics matching intelligence on potential attackers.
Even US citizens traveling to the US will be subject to special screening if they match certain profiles.
“It’s much more tailored to what intelligence is telling us and what the threat is telling us, as opposed to stopping all individuals from a particular nationality or all individuals using a particular passport,” the Times quoted the unnamed official as saying.
The current “no-fly” list was to remain in place under the new procedures, but supplemented by cross-referenced information that may see passengers subject to further screening even if their names are not flagged, the Wall Street Journal said.
Characteristics such as nationality, age, recently visited countries and partial names will be used alongside the “no-fly” list, the Journal said.
The system aims to avoid the intelligence failures that led to the alleged Christmas Day bomber, Nigeria’s Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, boarding the US-bound flight from Amsterdam wearing underpants rigged with explosives, even though US intelligence had been alerted to information on him.
The administration of US President Barack Obama has also pledged to speed up the installation of full body scanners at US airports and to increase funding for federal air marshals.
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