US tightens air passenger screening
UNITED STATES: US officials announced plans to tighten
screening of air passengers against terrorist watch-lists, as part of
continued efforts to increase security in the wake of the September 11
The Department of Homeland Security said it would now start
collecting manifest information for international flights leaving from
and arriving in the United States prior to boarding, rather than once
the flight has taken off.
In addition, the department would take over screening of domestic
passengers currently vetted by the airlines themselves. The changes were
recommendations of an official commission of inquiry into the September
11, 2001 attacks, in which Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked four US airlines
and forced them to crash.
“Stopping known threats before they board an aircraft, whether
domestically or internationally, is a critical security measure,”
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement,
unveiling the changes.