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DHS Proposes Earlier Passenger Manifests

February 25, 2005

DHS Proposes Earlier Passenger Manifests
February 25, 2005 – According to United Press International, The Department of Homeland Security is drafting a rule that will require airlines to pass on passenger manifest information as much as an hour before the departure of international flights bound for the United States.

"We need to be able to identify any suspected terrorists or other criminals (on board) before the plane takes off," Christiana Halsey of the department’s Customs and Border Protection directorate said, adding that the department was working on a so-called Notice of Proposed Rule Making — the first legal step down the regulatory path.

The regulation then goes through several drafts, each of which is published for comment by interested parties before being finalized by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

Halsey said that the passenger names would continue to be checked by the directorate’s National Targeting Center against the United States’ consolidated terrorist watchlist, which contains the names and aliases of thousands individuals thought linked to terrorism and against several other law-enforcement databases. This currently happens about 15 minutes prior to departure.

The option the department is currently working on would create one group of passengers, U.S. citizens, foreign visa holders and nationals of Canada and the so-called visa-waiver nations, who could transit the country without additional security checks. Nationals of a second group of countries would also be eligible to transit if their passenger information were received long enough in advance of their departure.

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