Beginning Monday, all air passengers flying into the United States will face increased security screenings after the attempted Christmas Day bombing on a Northwest Airlines jet in Detroit, Mich.
At airports across the globe, terrorists are trying to slip through the cracks and make attacks against the U.S. Terrorists are smart. They know where security is good. They know where security is lax, and they seek the weakest link. Nigeria has traditionally been a weak link in airport security.
Now the Transportation Security Administration says passengers flying into the U.S. from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan and other "countries of interest" will face enhanced screenings, including: full body scans, pat-downs, carry-on bag searches, and explosive detection technology.
Those travelling from or through Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria will see similar increased screenings before being allowed to board a flight bound for America.
The U.S. State Department lists those nations as "state sponsors of terrorism."
"The biggest hole is that people get on board airplanes who should not get on an airplane without going through secondary screening, which is what happened here," said Charles Slepian of the Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center in New York.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of trying to set off an explosive device aboard a Northwest Airlines flight Christmas Day, is from Nigeria. He told U.S. investigators that he received training and instructions from al Qaeda operatives in Yemen.
"I think you may see different thresholds for what makes you a selectee or what makes you a no-fly," said Kip Hawley, former administrator for the Transportation Security Administration. "Right now those are very, very limited. I suspect they will probably broaden those definitions."
Transportation officials at Newark Liberty International Airport were forced to close of a terminal for hours on Sunday evening. A man walked through a screening checkpoint exit into the secure side of the terminal, but he could not be located. The TSA rescreened thousands of passengers before allowing flights to resume from the terminal.