Says 9/11 Commission Recommended Move
It's a move the Department of
Homeland Security says will improve consistency of security
operations. On Thursday, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff
(right) announced the agency will assume a greater role in
checking passenger manifests against government watch lists.
The changes will place greater responsibility for identifying
potentially dangerous airline passengers in the hands of the
government, with less reliance on the airlines, according to
Under the current system, airlines gather passenger manifests
for international flights, and submit those lists to the federal
government -- often with the aircraft already en route -- for
cross-checking with no-fly lists. Airlines are responsible for
cross-checking manifests against no-fly lists on domestic runs... a
task DHS says carriers have not performed adequately.
As part of the new DHS guidelines, the Transportation Security
Administration assumes that responsibility from the airlines for
all flights within the US. The agency will receive passenger
information -- including full names, and date of birth -- as early
as 72 hours before a scheduled departure.
For international flights, airlines will be required to submit
passenger manifests to the TSA 30 minutes before the departure
time, or as each passenger checks in, to give authorities the
chance to catch potential suspects before the airliner takes
The TSA will begin testing the new system this fall, Chertoff
said during a news conference at Reagan International.
In an attempt to ward off privacy concerns, Chertoff stressed
the personal information collected would be minimal, and not
infringe privacy. Past attempts by DHS to assume control of
passenger screening from airlines were foiled by those worried
about giving the government too much access.
DHS says the changes follow recommendations made by the 9/11
Commission, to bring more consistent processes to passenger
pre-screening. We'll see.