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GAO report critical of profiling system for airline safety

Erroneous information, unresolved privacy concerns and the potential for abuse threaten to halt a controversial federal security program aimed at making preflight risk assessments of every airline passenger to identify terrorists. What had been billed as a more reliable version of the government’s passenger-profiling system still needs major work on seven of eight key issues, according to a report Thursday by the General Accounting Office. The Transportation Security Administration had expected to phase in the program this year as part of the war on terrorism. But the GAO report said serious obstacles prevent setting a timetable or estimating costs, although it said such a system holds promise. Critics of the program, including lawmakers and groups representing minorities, said the GAO report confirmed their belief that the profiling system is hopelessly flawed. Some called on Congress and the Bush administration to kill the system and focus instead on more enhanced physical security measures at airports and on airplanes. Full Story

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