New Air Security Checks Draw Criticism (NY Times)


WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration’s decision to mandate extra scrutiny — including full-body pat downs — for people flying into the United States from 14 mostly Muslim countries provoked criticism from foreign officials and skepticism from some security experts that the measures would be effective.

American counterterrorism officials said the increased checks reflected mounting concern about the threat posed by foreign-based extremists and dissatisfaction with security in certain airports overseas…
Under the new rules, all citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen must receive a pat down and an extra check of their carry-on bags before boarding a plane bound for the United States, officials said. Citizens of Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria -- nations considered “state sponsors of terrorism” -- face the same requirement.
Leaders of the affected countries argued that the United States had essentially declared their entire population suspects and created a two-tier system for air travel…
But diplomats and civil rights advocates said the agency had gone too far. “First look at behavior, not at faith or skin color,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Then spend what it takes to obtain more bomb-sniffing dogs, to install more sophisticated bomb-detection equipment and to train security personnel in identifying the behavior of real terror suspects.” (More)

 


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