Feds refine airport checks for terror threats
(AP) - The U.S. government is refining itsterror-screening policy to focus on specific terror threats and nottravelers' nationalities.
The new policy replaces a security requirement put in placeafter the attempted bombing of a jetliner en route to Detroit onChristmas Day that singled out people from 14 countries that havebeen home to terrorists. It also expands the pool of foreigntravelers targeted for extra screening beyond those whose names areon a U.S. terror watch list.
The changes, announced Friday by the Homeland SecurityDepartment, come after a three-month review of counterterrorismpolicies ordered by President Barack Obama in the wake of the nearmiss attack.
The countries that had been affected include Afghanistan,Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, SaudiArabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Under the refined policy, a person traveling to the U.S. wouldbe stopped if he or she fits a specific description of a potentialterrorist provided by U.S. intelligence officials - even if thesuspect's name is unknown.
Currently, passengers' names are compared to names on U.S.terror watch lists. If air carriers have a potential match to awatch list, the passenger is either banned from flying to the U.S.or subjected to extra screening such as a full-body pat-down beforeboarding the airplane.