Department of Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano told a conference of travel and tourism industry leaders gathered in Las Vegas that the prospect of shoe bombing remains a threat to aviation.
“Aviation remains a target. Material taken from Bin Laden’s house in Pakistan confirms that,” she said.
“We are moving away from one size fits all in security,” she added. “Trusted traveller programs are where we are focused. But it is more difficult than you imagine. You need to recognize it only takes one plane to go down.”
Napolitano’s remarks fall on the heels of a report commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association that calls on airlines to create a voluntary “trusted traveler” program similar to a mandatory one previously proposed by president Bush and rejected by Congress.
TSA administrator and former deputy FBI director John Pistole told the Wall Street Journal that the agency would use data from frequent-flier programs, which many carriers have kept for decades, to identify potential “trusted travelers,” the Boston Globe reports. Boarding passes of individuals in the program would be marked with a bar code, and those passengers would go through an expedited screening line after presenting their passes and valid identification.
In order to use the program and avoid intrusive pat-downs and dangerous backscatter radiation naked body scanners, flyers would be required to submit biometric and biographical information, pass robust background checks and be verified by TSA at the time of travel to pass through an alternative security process, USA Today reported last December.
Jerome Corsi reported this week that Mexico is now assembling a biometric national identity database that could be used to document names for a North American Trusted Traveler border pass card, a plan under development by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Mexican citizens.
Government produced video on Trusted Traveler.
In January, Mexican president Felipe Calderon signed an executive order requiring within the next five years all Mexicans 17 years old and younger have a biometric national identity card that would include a facial photograph, all 10 fingerprints, and an iris scan.
The Mexican Directorate General of the National Population Register plans to go to all elementary schools in Mexico and record the required biometric information and issue individual identity cards.
“It apparently would be similar to the program that has become commonplace in the European Union to allow free transit for EU citizens to move, live and work wherever they choose within the EU, disregarding nation-of-origin and national border restrictions,” writes Corsi.
In the United States, the government is pushing the over-hyped threat of shoe bombing – supposedly posed by mental deficients of the caliber of Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the dazed and confused so-called underwear bomber who was escorted on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam by the U.S. Government – in order to corral travelers into voluntarily surrendering their biometric information.
Richard Reid was a classic patsy. He was groomed as suicide bomber by British intelligence informer and radical London imam Abu Hamza al-Masri at London’s Finsbury Park mosque. The supposed mastermind of the London 7/7 bombings, Haroon Rashid Aswat, regularly attended the Finsbury Park mosque.
Counterterrorism expert John Loftus has claimed that Aswat in fact was working with British intelligence.