Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 1, 2006

Chertoff op-ed

Filed under: Aviation Security,Intelligence and Info-Sharing,International HLS — by Kate Phillips on September 1, 2006

For those of you that missed it earlier this week, take a minute to check out Secretary Chertoff’s op-ed in the Washington Post. He argues for more effective use of detailed airline passenger information (Passenger Name Record or PNR data) to identify high-risk passengers. Chertoff identifies problems arising from international restrictions on the use and sharing of this data:

The U.S. government has collected PNR data on travelers aboard international flights to the United States since the early 1990s. This information is of such value that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Congress mandated its continued collection. But in the past few years European privacy concerns have limited the ability of counterterrorism officials to gain broad access to data of this sort.

For example, under an agreement with the European Union, U.S. Customs and Border Protection receives this information regularly, but it cannot routinely share it with investigators in another DHS component, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or with the FBI — never mind with our allies in London. This information might yet identify associates of those arrested in the plot in Britain, but the rules blind us in routinely searching for that connection.

Yet another reminder that homeland security is not just a domestic issue. Effective HLS policies require strong international relationships and better channels for sharing threat information.

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1 Comment »

Comment by Jeff Johnston

September 22, 2006 @ 11:14 am

Do we really want the government more involved in our personal lives and information? Not really! Do we want to worry about getting on an airplane or being in a place that is suseptible to a terrorist attack. Not really!

Is it worth relaxing our privacy standards for our own and our children’s safety. By all means!

Do I care if there is racial profiling? NO! If it means mine and others’ personal safety.

Was it fair to inter the Japanese Americans in WWII? Not really, but the ones that were truly Americans understood.

We cannot stop the terrorist infiltration of the world without the coming together of all the nations throughout the world. If they are not willing to share information and help us stop these terrorists then I think we should stop all international travel into this country. Maybe the isolationist point of view we used to have wasn’t all that bad after all.

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