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Using personal traits to screen airline passengers

by AirTalk®

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Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers staff a checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport on March 15, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Obama administration today is expected to announce new procedures for screening U.S.-bound airline passengers based on personal traits rather than nationality. Under the revised system, travelers from all countries would be subject to special screening if their personal characteristics matched intelligence about potential terrorism suspects, including physical description, partial name, and travel pattern. The new measures replace the mandatory screening of travelers from 14 countries considered "state sponsors of terrorism." Is this a better way to screen for possible attackers, and are there any issues with civil liberties?


Erroll G. Southers, Adjunct Professor of Homeland Security and Public Policy Associate Director, Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), and Managing Director of the international consulting firm TAL Global's Counter-Terrorism and Infrastructure Protection Division
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