US announces new measures to strengthen aviation security

Last Updated: Friday, April 2, 2010 - 22:33

Washington: Superseding emergency measures
put in place following a foiled terrorist attack on a US-bound
aircraft on December 25, the country on Friday announced enhanced
security measures for all international carriers to strengthen
passengers` safety.

The new measures will select passengers based on
possible matches to intelligence information, including
physical descriptions or a particular travel pattern.

By putting this policy in place the US has abandoned its
earlier policy of using nationality alone such as Pakistan,
Afghanistan and Yemen -- to determine which US-bound
international air traveller should be subject to additional
screening.

"These new measures utilise real-time, threat-based
intelligence along with multiple, random layers of security,
both seen and unseen, to more effectively mitigate evolving
terrorist threats," said the Secretary of Homeland Security
Janet Napolitano.

The system will be "much more intel-based as opposed to
blunt force," a senior administration official was quoted as
saying by The Washington Post.

The Department of Homeland Security said passengers
travelling to US from abroad may notice enhanced security and
random screening measures throughout passenger check-in and
boarding process, including use of explosives trace detection,
advanced imaging technology, canine teams, or pat downs, among
other security measures.

"It`s much more tailored to what intelligence is telling
us and what the threat is, as opposed to stopping all
individuals from a particular nationality," one Obama
administration official told CBS News.

The new system is supposed to raise red flags on those
whose names do not appear on "no fly" lists by "surgically
targeting" potential terrorists.

Soon after a foiled December 25 al Qaeda attack to blow
up a North West plane, US introduced new rules which required
extra screening, such as full-body pat-downs, for everyone
from, or travelling through, any of these 14 countries -
Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and
Yemen.

The new rules use an intelligence-based targeting which
will be in addition to screening names on terror watch lists.

The government`s "no fly" list of suspected terrorists,
who are banned from flights to, or within, US territory, has
about 6,000 names.

PTI



First Published: Friday, April 2, 2010 - 22:33

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