New security measures announced today by the Department of Homeland Security will eliminate the mandatory screening of air travelers from 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran. Instead, only travelers matching the most current threat information will be put under the microscope.
“These new measures utilize real-time, threat-based intelligence along with multiple, random layers of security, both seen and unseen, to more effectively mitigate evolving terrorist threats,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
In addition to the countries listed above, there had been mandatory screening for travelers from Cuba, Sudan, Syria, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen put into place following the Dec. 25, 2009, attempt by a Nigerian man to blow up a Detroit-bound plane with explosives stashed in his underwear.
Reuters spoke to a senior administration official who said only travelers with matching characteristics, like physical description, partial name or travel pattern, of suspected terrorists would undergo further screening.
“So it’s much more tailored to what the intel is telling us, what the threat is telling us, as opposed to stopping all individuals of a particular nationality or all individuals using a particular passport,” the official told Reuters. “It is designed to be much more tailored so that we don’t stop everybody coming from a certain country, because that information is out, and if I’m a terrorist, the last thing I want to do then is send somebody with this passport, going that way,” the official said.
While this should make for faster movement through TSA security lines at the airport, does it make you feel any more or less safe than before?
New airline security measures announced [Reuters]