New Intel-Based Airport Screening Policy to Begin

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New Intel-Based Airport Screening Policy to Begin

Updated: 4 hours 1 minute ago

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Terence Neilan Contributor
AOL News

(April 2) -- The U.S. announcied today new airport security procedures that will rely on specific intelligence information, replacing the current system that singles out travelers from 14 countries for mandatory screening.

The new measures will be based on information gathered about passengers' travel patterns, names and passport numbers.

The current system, hastily introduced in January after a Nigerian man was charged with attempting to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, drew protest from such countries as Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Nigeria. Those rules required the 14 mostly Muslim nations to apply full-body pat-downs and other security measures on all travelers bound for the U.S. As a result, thousands of people were singled out each day based solely on their country of departure.
Scott Olson, Getty Images
The Obama administration is taking a new approach to checking passengers flying into the U.S. It's an intelligence-based system meant to augment "no-fly" lists and anti-terrorism technology, like this full-body scanner at O'Hare International Airport.

The new policy, beginning this month and announced by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, will apply to anyone flying to the U.S. from any country. It will also require anyone who raises a red flag with intelligence agencies to undergo additional screening before being allowed to board a plane.

If someone from Asia, for example, has made trips to the Middle East and fits the pattern through age and country of origin for people being recruited by terror groups, he or she would be singled out for extra screening.

"So it's much more tailored to what 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," a U.S. security official told reporters at a White House briefing Thursday.

The new system will be in addition to the existing "no fly" list, which reportedly contains the names of at least 6,000 terror suspects. President Barack Obama authorized the change after Napolitano visited a number of countries in recent months and consulted with their security officials and airline carriers.

Concerns about the new system leading to racial profiling were dismissed by a senior administration official, The New York Times reported.

"We're talking about different features, characteristics, attributes of individuals who reportedly are trying to carry out attacks," the official said. "We're trying to match those intelligence indicators to the people who are trying to come to the United States."

The 14 countries singled out under the current system, although never officially confirmed, are reportedly Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.
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