Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TSA and the new regulations

In last year's attempted "Christmas bombing," America's Transportation Security Administration implemented new procedures requiring extra screening for people coming from or travelling to fourteen countries. On Friday, Janet Napolitano, America's top homeland security official, announced the end of that policy. The temporary rules that kicked in this January will be replaced with more nuanced rules that utilize real-time, threat-based intelligence along with multiple, random layers of security, both seen and unseen, to more effectively mitigate evolving terrorist threats.
Civil liberties groups had criticized the temporary measures as discriminatory and too broad. But there seemed to be broad consensus that the new measures represented a step in the right direction. "American Muslim organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, airline and travel industries," and even a Republican senator, Maine's Susan Collins, expressed support for the changes to the Obama administration's policies, the Washington Post reported. To make up an example, that if the National Security Agency picks up chatter that a young man from Yemen who has traveled recently through France plans to crash an airliner, that information, properly vetted and sourced, would be passed along. And individuals who fit that particular category—young men from Yemen who've traveled recently through France—will be subject to any number of secondary security checks, ranging from full-body scans to physical pat-downs to a few individual questions. Even the best conceivable TSA procedures aren't going to catch every potential terrorist. Some of the most important counter-terrorism work happens well before a bomber shows up at the airport.

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