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January 4, 2010

Foreign air passengers to receive tightened screening at US airports

     Washington: As part of America's new stringent air security measures in the wake of the Detroit flight bombing bid, all air passengers entering the US will receive tightened random screening, while citizens from 14 terrorism-prone countries will also be patted down and have their carry-ons searched. "These are changes that weren't widely in place for all carriers or countries on 12/24. These are sustainable measures that are a significant enhancement of our security posture. Transportation Security Administration will continuously review these measures with our global aviation partners to ensure the highest levels of security," Politico quoted an Obama administration official, as saying. All passengers from countries on the State Department's "State Sponsors of Terrorism" list - plus all passengers from other "countries of interest" such as Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen - will receive "full body pat-down and physical inspection of property," the official added. The countries on the State Department list are Cuba , Iran , Sudan and Syria . Other countries covered by the TSA directive are Afghanistan , Algeria , Iraq , Lebanon , Libya , Saudi Arabia and Somalia . "The screening "could also include explosive detection technology or advanced imaging technology where it's available" and the "enhanced security measures" apply to "all international flights to U.S. locations, including both U.S. and international carriers," the official said. "This goes beyond simply looking at passports and now looks at itineraries from and through countries of interest. This is a significant step forward," he added. Meanwhile, Kristin Lee of the TSA announced: "Today the Transportation Security Administration issued new security directives to all United States and international air carriers with inbound flights to the U.S. effective January 4, 2010. The new directive includes long-term, sustainable security measures developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners."
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