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‘Terror-Prone’ US Allies Force Obama to Relax Airport Security

The US has cancelled recent airport security restrictions on terror-related countries, including Muslim allies who pressured Obama.


By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/4/2010, 8:41 AM

The Obama administration has cancelled airport security restrictions on 14 terror-related countries, including American Muslim allies such as Saudi Arabia. Instead, the United States is relying on "real-time” intelligence to prevent terrorist attacks in the air.

American security officials several months ago clamped down on travelers from Cuba and 13 Muslim countries after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab passed through security systems and tried to blow up a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit. Shortly afterwards, new regulations required travelers with passports from those 14 countries to undergo a thorough body search before boarding.

Several of the terror-related Muslim countries, namely Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Algeria, are allied with the United States in its war against the international Al-Qaeda network and have successfully pressured the Obama administration to cancel the strict regulations.

Other countries whose citizens no longer will automatically have to undergo stricter security measures are Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Cuba.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano revealed that Homeland Security officials consulted with Israel experts after the attempted bombing on the Detroit-bound airplane in December. “Of course, their situation is somewhat different.” she said. “They have one airport that throughputs about 50,000 passengers a day; we throughput about 2 million passengers a day, so some of the things they can do would really clog up U.S. air travel. But we're always looking at what other nations are doing and sharing that with other nations."

Napolitano explained that new regulations "utilize real-time, threat-based intelligence” to single out travelers whose description suggests they might be potential terrorists. The new regulations will be used for passport holders of all countries, including the United States.