Dept. of Homeland Security Issues New Order for Airline Checks
- Shahzad Waives right to rapid arraignment
- Further details on Times Square terror suspect
- Some fear backlash against Pakistani-Americans
After accused Times Square bomb terrorist Faisal Shahzad nearly escapes, Department of Homeland Security issues new law
On Wednesday, officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ordered airlines to speed up checks of names added to the no-fly list, a requirement that might have prevented accused Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad from boarding a flight to Dubai on Monday night.
Thus far, airlines have been required to check the no-fly list for updates only every 24 hours. But the new rule requires that they check within two hours of receiving notification that a high-priority name has been added to the list. The rule was sent to all airlines by Homeland Security officials and is effective immediately.
In the case of Mr. Shahzad, security officials added his name to the no-fly list at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, and sent airlines an electronic notification three minutes later. But the Department of Homeland Securitysaid Emirates Airline apparently did not check the updated list, and sold Mr. Shahzad a ticket to Pakistan by way of Dubai for cash at 7:35 p.m. Monday, seven hours after he was added to the list.
Members of an FBI surveillance team had found Mr. Shahzad in Connecticut but subsequently lost track of him before he drove to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the officials said. As a result, investigators did not know he was planning to fly abroad, and was only able to do so by obtaining a Customs and Border Control flight list at the last minute.
A troubling gap
Top officials at the Obama White House and some members of Congress on Tuesday had praised the government’s handling of the investigation and the speedy capture of Mr. Shahzad. But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted there was some luck involved.
And GOP Senator Susan M Collins of Maine, added that there seemed to be "a troubling gap" in airport security protocol.
At a news conference in Washington, Attorney General Eric Holder stated on the contrary, he has never felt concerned about Shahzad escaping arrest.
Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary, called the capture of the accused terrorist “a great team effort.” She added: “The law enforcement work in this case was truly exemplary.”
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