Sec. Chertoff spoke this afternoon in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations. Most of the speech was a reprise of his remarks on Monday at the Heritage Foundation, but there were a handful of interesting items in his remarks:
- On the topic of aviation security, he discussed the false positive problem with government watch lists, and suggested that one solution would be additional disclosure of information by travelers, singling out a person’s date of birth, address, and social security number as examples of new data requirements. He conceded that it would be difficult to mandate these disclosures due to privacy issues, but thought that most people would think this would be a fair tradeoff between the risk of being selected for secondary screening. (I think this idea makes sense in principle, but the decisions about what types of data to require should be made cautiously. Asking for someone’s date-of-birth sounds fine; asking for someone’s social security number sounds like a bad idea.)
- He also talked about the need for a greater role for behavior detection in aviation security, and told a story about a Jordanian man who was denied entry into the United States by CBP inspectors in 2003 as a result of suspicions based upon behavioral screening. That same person who was denied entry turned out to be a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2005, where he carried out a bombing that killed 132 people. (See this MSNBC story for background on this example).
- He noted that two points of emphasis in his meetings with Chinese officials next week would be the repatriation of illegal immigrants and strengthening joint efforts to crack down on Chinese human smuggling rings.
The webcast stopped working during the Q&A….hopefully they’ll have a transcript up soon.
Update (3/27): Here’s the full transcript.