Monday, January 4, 2010

TSA’s New Security Directive for Enhanced Screening

Here’s a new announcement from TSA:

Today, the Transportation Security Administration issued new security directives to all United States and international air carriers with inbound flights to the U.S. effective January 4, 2010.

The new directive includes long-term, sustainable security measures developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners. Because effective aviation security must begin beyond our borders, and as a result of extraordinary cooperation from our global aviation partners, TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening. The directive also increases the use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random screening for passengers on U.S. bound international flights.

WaPo reports that TSA officials declined to name all the "countries of interest" on Sunday, but confirmed that the directive applies to the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism. The department's Web site lists Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism. The report also says that “a senior administration official identified the following as terrorism-prone nations or countries of interest to U.S. intelligence agencies: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.”

The NYT on its coverage (U.S. Intensifies Air Screening for Fliers From 14 Nations) points out that these new changes will mean that “any citizen of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia will for the first time be patted down automatically before boarding any flight to the United States. Even if that person has lived in a country like Britain for decades, he now will be subject to these extra security checks.”

Nigeria has already criticized its inclusion under the new air passenger screening saying "It is unfair to discriminate against 150 million people because of the behaviour of one person."

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