US: More Screening for Travelers from Suspect Countries

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The U.S. government has ordered more security screening for people flying into the United States from 14 countries at high risk for terrorism.

The new security measures come after the the failed Christmas Day (December 25) attack on a U.S.-bound jetliner.


The Transportation Security Administration said Sunday that every individual flying into the United States “from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest” will be subject to “enhanced screening.”

The U.S. State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism consists of four countries – Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. U.S. media reports say passengers from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen will also be subject to the more stringent screening.

Extra screening measures may include body pat-downs, swabbing of luggage to detect explosives and body scans.

The agency also ordered an overall increase in the use of “enhanced screening technologies,” along with “threat-based” and random screening, for U.S.-bound airline passengers.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Sunday that British airports will soon begin using so-called full-body scanners to screen passengers. Mr. Brown told British television that such screening will be extended to all passengers, and that even those only transiting through Britain will have their hand luggage screened.

Britain became the third country to deploy the new scanners since the failed attack on a U.S.-bound jetliner December 25. Nigeria and the Netherlands ordered the screening last week.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser said Sunday that intelligence agencies did not miss a “smoking gun” that could have prevented the failed Christmas Day airliner attack.

In interviews on U.S. television news shows, John Brennan said U.S. officials had information about the Nigerian man accused in the attack. But he said there was no intelligence information that brought all the evidence about the bombing plot together.

The White House aide said there were errors in the sharing of intelligence about the suspect, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. But Brennan, who is leading the White House review of the incident, said there is no evidence that U.S. agencies were reluctant to share the information.

President Obama has ordered an inter-agency review to find out how Abdulmutallab allegedly smuggled explosives onto a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

President Obama has summoned Homeland Security officials to meet with him at the White House on Tuesday.

‘Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters’