Feds Will Take Over Airline Passenger Screening

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Domestic security officials will screen airline passengers against a list of potential terror suspects, taking over a job now carried out by the airlines, says the New York Times. Advocates for tougher screening and civil libertarians have criticized the current system, under which airline employees check passenger names against government watch lists to ensure that terror suspects do not board planes and that law enforcement officials are notified of security risks. The government does not provide the airlines with a comprehensive set of watch lists; some of that information is classified.

Under the new system, airlines will provide the Department of Homeland Security with passenger lists and government officials will check those names against more expansive watch lists. Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border security at the Department of Homeland Security, described the to the Senate Commerce Committee. The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the government earlier this year on behalf of passengers who said they were wrongly placed on no-fly lists, cautiously welcomed the change.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/17/politics/17nofly.html

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