The Obama Administration has expanded extra screening at airports for individuals matching intelligence descriptions of potential terrorists, including physical characteristics or travel patterns. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “These new measures utilize real-time, threat-based intelligence along with multiple, random layers of security, both seen and unseen, to more effectively mitigate evolving terrorist threats.” The previous policy for extra screening was limited to nationality only for fourteen countries. It was put in place after the attempted Christmas Day bombing allegedly by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Civil rights groups gave guarded praise for the policy to expand screening beyond nationality. Civil rights groups criticized the previous policy for the potential for racial profiling in screening. However, there is still some skepticism. “We’d hate to see a system that’s overtly discriminates replaced by a system that covertly discriminates,” said Michael German, national security policy counsel with the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.
Lawmakers and security experts also cautiously commend the implementation of the new policy. Susan Collins, ranking Republican on the Senate homeland committee, praised the policy but also said, “Intelligence-based targeting systems are only as effective as the intelligence they are based upon.”
The new policy is to start next month and will identify individuals for additional pat downs and screening.
Read more at the Washington Post.