Passengers traveling from or through countries that either are officially recognized "sponsors of terrorism" or otherwise suspected of harboring terrorist causes will have to go through enhanced screening, including full-body pat-downs, before boarding any flight to the United States, the Transportation Security Administration said today. The measures include all citizens of those nations on flights to the U.S.
The new guidelines, the first to effectively profile citizens of and travelers from certain countries, are effective tomorrow.
The TSA described the new measures as "long-term, sustainable security measures
developed in consultation with law enforcement officials and our domestic and international partners" and said they were implemented amid "extraordinary cooperation from our global aviation partners."
The directive also "increases the use of enhanced screening technologies and mandates threat-based and random screening for passengers on U.S. bound international flights," the agency said.
A couple of years ago, there would have been some howls of protest within the U.S. against any idea of "profiling" an entire nation, even one known to be friendly to terrorist organizations.
My guess is, not this time. In my opinion, this is a smart move by the TSA. It obviously took some fast, smart footwork in coordination with other nations.
I haven't yet seen the complete list, but the following countries are on it: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Cuba, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Lebanon, Algeria.
Expect indignant yowls from those countries.
I say, tough. Suck it up.