Terrorist Watchlist Checks and Air Passenger Prescreening [Updated March 1, 2007]   [open pdf - 182KB]

"Considerable controversy continues to surround U.S. air passenger prescreening and terrorist watchlist checks. In the past, such controversy centered around diverted international flights and misidentified passengers. While screening agencies have taken some steps to ameliorate those problems, other related issues have arisen, underscoring that screening passengers for more intensive searches of their person or baggage, or to prevent them from boarding an aircraft in the event of a terrorist watchlist hit, is likely to be a difficult proposition for the federal agencies tasked with aviation and border security, principally the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Recent developments underscore the difficulties encountered by frontline-screening agencies. In the 110th Congress, meanwhile, the House passed a bill (H.R. 1) to implement further the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission on January 9, 2007. This bill includes two provisions that would require the DHS Secretary to (1) establish a timely and fair appeals process for persons delayed or prevented from boarding a commercial aircraft by any homeland security agency, and (2) formulate a strategic plan to test and implement an advanced passenger prescreening system. And, the Senate is currently considering similar provisions in S. 509, as an amendment to S. 4 - the Senate alternative to H.R. 1. Congress included similar provisions in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33645
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