Alternative To Airport Pat-Downs: In-Depth Interrogations


If Americans don't want the government touching their “junk” to improve air security, the alternative may well be greater scrutiny of passengers' travel histories and personal backgrounds. The public backlash against the aggressive pat-downs rolled out this month could lead to more pressure for measures previously rejected on privacy grounds, including in-depth interrogations of travelers, government scrutiny of passengers' airline information, and creation of a secure, standardized national ID card, says

The alternative vision, described by former Department of Homeland Security official Stewart Baker: “We're going to gather information about people we're going to encounter hours before they arrive. We'll compare names and travel partners to lists of people, not just no-fly lists, but anyone who's suspect one way or another. One hundred and ninety-nine people spend 30 seconds in primary [screening] getting an ID check and moved on, but one person in 200 gets an hour of screening, reviewing their personal effects, and an interrogation that's very free ranging.”

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