The US begins “seen and unseen” profiling of air travelers

While trying hard to avoid admitting to "profiling," the Obama administration has introduced new measures for screening US-bound air travelers based on how closely their personal characteristics match intelligence on potential terrorists. Nationality, age, certain physical characteristics, recently visited countries and partial (Muslim-sounding) names will be used alongside the no-fly list to step up flight security.
The US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned Friday, April 2: "P
assengers travelling to the United States from international destinations may notice enhanced security and random screening measures throughout the passenger check-in and boarding process." They will be applied to US citizens as well as foreign travelers.
She said the 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." These would include "the use of explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, or pat downs, among other security measures".
Our counter-terror sources report that these probably already include federal marshals on high-risk flights.
has been reviewing safety procedures measures ever since the botched bombing attempt last Christmas by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national trained in Yemen by al Qaeda, who boarded a Detroit-bound plane at Amsterdam, notwithstanding an advance warning relayed to US intelligence.
debkafile's counter-terror sources report the new system is a radical departure from the former lackadaisical measures in force and will apply to US airports, incoming and domestic flights, American and foreign airlines and points of departure. It also covers many more countries than the 14 named after that incident, since when full body scanners are already in operation.
The singling out of people on the basis of race or ethnicity is formally prohibited by the US government, but is implicit in the new guidelines. To weed out potential terrorists, American airport security checks will come closer to the flexible methods applied at Israel's international airport, which are based on current intelligence together with the security official's instincts, initiative and personal observations rather than on the letter of official directives.
While the failed Christmas bomber was officially reported to be cooperating with his FBI interrogators, debkafile's intelligence sources report that they are still in the dark about the source of the explosives Abdulmutallab carried, the identify of the operatives who escorted him to the US flight at Amsterdam international airport and whom he met at Accra, Ghana, before setting out for Lagos and catching a flight to Schiphol.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email