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Profiling: Coming to an airport near you

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Thailand
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U.S. changing way air travelers are screened

By Anne E. Kornblut and Spencer S. Hsu

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Obama administration is abandoning its policy of using nationality alone to determine which U.S.-bound international air travelers should be subject to additional screening and will instead select passengers based on possible matches to intelligence information, including physical descriptions or a particular travel pattern, senior officials said Thursday.

After the attempted bombing of an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight on Christmas Day, U.S. officials decided that passengers from or traveling through 14 specified countries would be subjected to secondary searches. Critics have since called the measures discriminatory and overly burdensome, and the administration has faced pressure to refine its approach.

Under the new system, screeners will stop passengers for additional security if they match certain pieces of known intelligence.

The system will be "much more intel-based," a senior administration official said, "as opposed to blunt force."

In the Christmas Day incident, Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to ignite explosives sewn into his underwear as Northwest Airlines Flight 253 prepared to land, but the device failed, and he was subdued by fellow passengers. Abdulmutallab has allegedly said he was trained by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.

Immediately afterward, the administration ordered a significant increase in secondary searches, requiring all passengers from or traveling through Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Liberia, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen to undergo extra security at the airport. Travelers from countries considered state sponsors of terrorism -- Cuba, Syria, Iran and Sudan -- were subjected to the same screening, including pat-downs and additional bag checks.

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Airlines had warned that the measures instituted after the Christmas Day incident would need to be eased before the busy summer travel season. And critics objected that the added scrutiny amounted to a pretext for racial profiling that could potentially affect 675 million people, including American Muslims and religious pilgrims.

Administration officials briefed reporters about the revised policy Thursday. But they did so on the condition that reporters not publicize it or seek reaction to it until after midnight, saying they were still working to notify foreign partners and members of Congress.

The underlying airline security policy of checking passenger names against watch lists will continue to operate, and certain passengers will still be banned from flying or required to submit to additional security based on names in intelligence databases. About 24,000 people around the world are currently on those "no-fly" and "selectee" lists.

Administration officials said the new system will "significantly" reduce the number of passengers chosen for mandatory extra screening, eliminating entire swaths of travelers who had been chosen based on their nationalities.

But it will also broaden the universe of potential targets for secondary searches, expanding the focus from the 14 named countries to dubious passengers from anywhere in the world, a move also designed to outsmart terrorist plotters who knew which countries were affected.

The rules will take effect within the month, the senior administration official said, acknowledging that the system instituted in January presented a severe inconvenience to travelers from the listed countries.

The official offered a hypothetical case to illustrate how the new system will work. If U.S. intelligence authorities learned about a terrorism suspect from Asia who had recently traveled to the Middle East, and they knew the suspect's approximate age but not name or passport number, those fragments would be entered into a database and shared with commercial airline screeners abroad.

The screeners would be instructed to look for people with those traits and to pull them aside for extra searches, the official said, acknowledging that that in some cases, screeners will have to rely on their judgment as they consider the listed traits.

While intelligence officials had fragments of information about Abdulmutallab -- including warnings from his father that he was becoming radicalized, and warnings about a Nigerian plot against U.S. interests -- those pieces of information were not connected in time to keep him from flying.

Administration officials have said that, in hindsight, the central failure involved inadequate sharing of information. It is not clear whether the new screening measures would have been sufficient to block him.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ukraine
Timeline

I've been detained TWICE in Philly airport. Once for an hour. It took them 3 seconds to look in my passport, look at the last name and go...oh.....we're sorry you are free to go.

Yet I had to spend an hour sitting there.

Lesson learned - SHAVE before entering the US :) Both times I was coming in and detained and questioned was because I had a beard. No kidding.


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Lesson learned - SHAVE before entering the US :) Both times I was coming in and detained and questioned was because I had a beard. No kidding.

I was visiting family in India back in Feb. You have to shave before you try to get on the subway there or the paramilitaries will want to talk to you. Facial hair is a big no-no if you don't want people to think you're Moooslem.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Other Country: Canada
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I was visiting family in India back in Feb. You have to shave before you try to get on the subway there or the paramilitaries will want to talk to you. Facial hair is a big no-no if you don't want people to think you're Moooslem.

What if you're a 70s porn star? :P

AJ just wants to work for the TSA on the days when Aishwarya Rai or Priya Rai fly. :rofl:


IR5

2007-07-27 – Case complete at NVC waiting on the world or at least MTL.

2007-12-19 - INTERVIEW AT MTL, SPLIT DECISION.

2007-12-24-Mom's I-551 arrives, Pop's still in purgatory (AP)

2008-03-11-AP all done, Pop is approved!!!!

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ukraine
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I was visiting family in India back in Feb. You have to shave before you try to get on the subway there or the paramilitaries will want to talk to you. Facial hair is a big no-no if you don't want people to think you're Moooslem.

Well, to add to that. I was coming back from Israel... and, you know, having a facial hair and being Jewish makes you look like someone they would profile in the airport :)

NOW! I hold no grudges with the TSA whatsoever, I kinda brought it upon my self. My only thing was, they didn't even bother to look in the passport to begin with, and once they did it clicked: oh....a jew coming back from Israel and he's a citizen of US. THAT MAKES SENSE, you can go nao!


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I hold no grudges with the TSA whatsoever...

Me neither. Airport security personnel in Indian airports are way more aggressive, much more "thorough" (to the point of being extremely frustrating) and frankly, ruder. The TSA are awesome by comparison.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ukraine
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Me neither. Airport security personnel in Indian airports are way more aggressive, much more "thorough" (to the point of being extremely frustrating) and frankly, ruder. The TSA are awesome by comparison.

This is all kids' stuff compared to security checks in Tel-Aviv...


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This is all kids' stuff compared to security checks in Tel-Aviv...

So I hear. In India, I got hassled over and over and over again over my chapstick. Every time I went through a layer of security (there are so many), they wanted to know what the object in my pocket was.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ukraine
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I went through Tel-Aviv in November. And since I was with my fiancee, and we were both flying out to different countries that just sent their heads spinning. Took me 3 people and 20 minutes to explain OMG WHY we don't live together in the same country. She wasn't searched too much, but I got dragged around different security rooms for 3 hours (her plane was 4 hours before mine)


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About time.

Why does an almost blind, 90-year old grandma with gray hair, flying in from Norway, and sitting in a wheelchair, have to take off her shoes at the airport, when she obviously isn't going to do anything harmful?

Common sense and intelligence dictates to screen all Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 45 first and foremost, and all those who appear to look like Muslims, even if they have a letter from their pastor that they believe in Jesus Christ more than life itself. Keep in mind, not every Muslim is a terrorist, but most terrorists are Muslim after all. Being politically correct doesn't get us anywhere when it comes to sort out potential terrorists. Heck, I would suspend visas for Muslims until the US declares the war on terror being won.


There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all . . . . The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic . . . . There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

President Teddy Roosevelt on Columbus Day 1915

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I went through Tel-Aviv in November. And since I was with my fiancee, and we were both flying out to different countries that just sent their heads spinning. Took me 3 people and 20 minutes to explain OMG WHY we don't live together in the same country. She wasn't searched too much, but I got dragged around different security rooms for 3 hours (her plane was 4 hours before mine)

WOW!

About time.

...

Common sense and intelligence dictates to screen all Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 45 first and foremost, and all those who appear to look like Muslims ...

Have you read the original article or are you merely reacting to a headline?


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Ukraine
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WOW!

Meh... I've been to Israel over a dozen of times, so they calmed down after they looked through the passport, pulled up their database and didn't see me on any of their "watch" lists and whatnot.

I didn't mind all that, except I was almost late to the plane. However, a security officer escorted me through customs and passport control so I didn't have to stand in line and I made my plane just fine.

They were just doing their job, in the end. In Tel-Aviv, when something out of the ordinary happens, it sparks their interest. Me being from US and my fiancee being from Ukraine, yet spending time together in Israel didn't sit well with them so..

all in all, it was THEM who had to sift through my dirty laundry, so I some satisfaction out of that :P


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all in all, it was THEM who had to sift through my dirty laundry, so I some satisfaction out of that :P

At an Indian airport, I've had my carryons emptied on the ground by security personnel, sifted through with a baton and then ordered to hurry up and repack because I'm holding up the line :lol:


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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