U.S. to use profiling checks for incoming flights – The new system is a response to an attempt to blow up a plane last year by a Nigerian passenger.
The Obama administration will announce Friday a new screening system for flights to the United States under which passengers who fit an intelligence profile of potential terrorists will be searched before boarding their flight, a senior administration official said.
The procedures, which have been approved by President Obama, are aimed at preventing another terror attack like the one attempted by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian suspected of ties to al Qaeda who tried to blow up an airliner Christmas Day with a bomb hidden in his under wear, the official said.
In the wake of that attempt, the administration began mandatory screening of airline passengers from 14 high-risk countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, which has resulted in thousands of travellers each day being searched.
Under the new system, passengers on flights from all countries could be subject to special screening before boarding if they have personal characteristics that match the latest intelligence information about potential attackers, the official said.
“We believe it is a much more effective system,” that is “tailored to optimize our ability to interdict would-be terrorists,” said the senior official, who described the plan in return for anonymity.
Even U.S. citizens travelling to the United States from abroad who matched the characteristics would be subject to special screening, the official said. Administration officials said the system would not amount to improper profiling because by relying on specific and frequently updated intelligence and broadening the number of countries covered beyond the current 14 provided for greater fairness than the current system.
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