7
Sep
2004

An easy path for terrorists

IF YOU FLY OUT of Logan Airport and don't want to take off your shoes for the security screeners and get your bags opened up, pay attention. The US government is testing its "Trusted Traveler" program, and Logan is the fourth test airport. Currently, only American Airlines frequent fliers are eligible, but if all goes well the program will be opened up to more people and more airports.

Participants provide their name, address, phone number, and birth date, a set of fingerprints, and a retinal scan. That information is matched against law enforcement and intelligence databases. If the applicant is not on any terrorist watch list and is otherwise an upstanding citizen, he gets a card that allows him access to a special security lane. The lane doesn't bypass the metal detector or X-ray machine for carry-on bags, but it bypasses more intensive secondary screening unless there's an alarm of some kind. Unfortunately, this program won't make us more secure. Some terrorists will be able to get Trusted Traveler cards, and they'll know in advance that they'll be subjected to less stringent security.

Since 9/11, airport security has been subjecting people to special screening -- sometimes randomly and sometimes based on profile criteria as analyzed by computer. For example, people who buy one-way tickets or pay with cash are more likely to be flagged for this extra screening.

http://makeashorterlink.com/?E2E224939


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