The head of Interpol believes terrorists and other criminals are traveling freely around the globe in ways that police agencies find difficult to track, but he knows how to cripple their movements. reports C/Net News.com. Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble yesterday suggested two solutions: airlines should forward passenger data on international flights to Interpol; and nations that arrest foreign visitors should share those fingerprints with Interpol as well. Noble, who is meeting today with American Airlines to discuss the proposal as a pilot project, said linking databases can help detect people flying on passports reported as lost or stolen. Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, entered the U.S. carrying a stolen Iraqi passport.
Eventually, he envisions expanding the database to encompass other forms of travel, including trains, ocean liners, and cruise ships. “It could be needed for any international travel requiring a passport where reservations are made,” said Noble, a former New York University law professor and Clinton administration official in the U.S. Treasury Department. The pilot project would gather only passport numbers and the country that issued the passport, and not individual names or other details. The federal government has worried about fraudulent travel documents in the hands of terrorists, especially when passports are issued by countries whose citizens can enter the U.S. without a visa. In May, the Department of Homeland Security said it would begin using Interpol’s database of 7 million lost or stolen passports to screen foreign travelers. The U.S. began reporting its lost or stolen passports to Interpol in 2004.