Foreign passengers face enhanced screening
The United States is tightening the screening of foreign airline passengers who pass through this country on their way to other overseas destinations, part of a response to specific new terrorist threats involving passenger aircraft.
“It was a door opened slightly for abuse, for exploitation,” Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Sunday on CNN’s Late Edition. “We thought it was in the country’s best interest to close the door.” The change, which took effect Saturday, means that passengers who change planes or have layovers at U.S. airports will need visas, Ridge said. Exceptions remain for Western European countries where visa requirements are currently waived, but passengers from those countries will receive “enhanced screening,” Ridge said. “There will be more and more rigorous secondary screening of people generally when they come to this country,” he said. The intent is to “push our perimeter out as far as we can” so that U.S. ports are “the last line of defense.” Full Story