Enforcement Woes on First Day of New Screening Rules

By Matthew Harwood

Some international airports with flights bound for the United States admitted yesterday that they had not implemented new passenger screening rules announced on Sunday in reaction to the botched terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas, reports The Associated Press.

The "enhanced screening" measures that went into effect on Monday dictate that anyone holding a passport from, departing from, or traveling through 14 countries identified by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be met by pat-down searches, inspection of carry-on baggage, and where available, explosives-detection technology and full body scanning machines. All other international travelers will be screened by these stronger measures on a random basis.

While enforcement of the rules occurred notably at airports in The Netherlands and Nigeria, the two countries 23-year-old alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab passed through airport security on his way to the United States, other countries have failed to implement the rules, reports the AP.

[A]t international airports in Lebanon, Syria and Libya, all on the list, there were no visible changes in screening. And several European governments, including Germany, France and Spain, said they were still studying the rules before tightening security any further than the steps they took after the failed Christmas attack.

''We will continue to work with our airline and international partners to ensure they meet both international and TSA security standards,'' said Greg Soule, spokesman of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

The AP also reports that airlines that do not follow the new U.S. enhanced screening rules could be penalized through warnings and fines, ultimately ending with the TSA barring them from flying into the United States.

Airport security when travelers arrive in the United States, however, seems tighter, according to a UC Irvine student from Bahrain traveling with his father. According to The Los Angeles Times, the two traveled from Saudi Arabia into London's Heathrow Airport where they traveled through metal detectors and underwent pat-down searches. 

Then, after arriving at Los Angeles International, they were questioned by authorities as they claimed their luggage at the Tom Bradley terminal, and officials searched a book bag the student was carrying. The passengers, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified for fear of being harassed, said authorities wanted to know why they were in the U.S. and where they lived.

In related news, President Barack Obama today will meet with the heads of the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Department of Homeland Security to get updates on the botched Christmas Day terrorist attack. Afterward, reports, he will address the public, outline his findings, and initiate reforms to bolster the ability of the government to detect and disrupt future attacks.

♦ Photo by Itiro/Flickr



That TSA List of Enhanced Screening


 Dear Editor,

I viewed the recent TSA list of countries shortlisted for enhanced screening as a reaction that is 90% influenced by emotional feelings and therefore a country like Nigeria is a victim of that feeling guided reactions. Nigeria, a country I lived for more than 3 decades and I can rightly say that Nigeria is far from being a terrorists country. No doubt the North of Nigeria is Muslim dominated but the country has been that way for all these years without the fear of terrorism. The only problem we have with the muslim north is their inability to curb religious intolerant, but again this is also true of any country that has a good number of muslims as a part of her population. The conclusion that the attempted bomber is a Nigerian and therefore Nigeria is viewed as culpable is wrong. How about Richard Reid as an example? He is a British Citizen, born in Bromley-South London, caught with a substance believed to be the same PETN for the same purpose of bringing a US commercial airline down? Show me Britain on this socalled enhanced screening list? Or it was there but was removed recently. This list is the most openly biased list I have ever seen in all my life. True that Britain is so infested with terrorists-home grown they are-that it has even begun to export them to other nations. You will be the victim again if you fail to face this problem squarely at where it is coming from. That list makes no difference anyways, as long as US fails to face the problem and forget about being biased. You are just toying with the lives of your citizens. Britain has a record high number of terrorists actively operating in and out of that country, methink the searchlights should be pointed towards that direction, not very peaceful countries like Nigeria. This Nigeria has been doing the home work it is required to do and just because Farouk abdulMutallab is from Nigeria does not qualify that country as a terrorist country. As I write this one, 5 Americans are standing trial at Pakistan for their role on terrorism. Put US on the list then. Remember Farouk's father warned the United States of his Son's involvement on terrorism and if US had heeded to his warning we will be singing a different song by now. It is the series of failures US has been recording in this fight against terrorism that has taken us to this level not Nigeria. US is a very big failure in the war against terrorism and I am afraid it may happen again if the right areas, like Britain and others, are not taken care of just because they are too big to have their feelings hurt. TSA list is biased. 

David Osah, Canada


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