Secure Flight

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Secure Flight, the program unveiled in August 2004 by the Department of Homeland Security that was designed to "check 2 million airline passengers a day" against a centralized terrorist watchlist run by the Terrorist Screening Center housed at the FBI, has been suspended "because of security concerns" as it "may not be immune from hackers," the Associated Press reported February 9, 2006.


Background

Secure Flight was intended to supplant CAPPS II -- Computer Assisted Passenger PreScreening System II -- which was "riddled with problems" and "killed off" by the Transportation Security Administration in June 2004. [1]

In the report presented September 19, 2005, to the Transportation Security Administration, the oversight panel said that the "project has been hampered by poor planning and opposition from privacy advocates and might not even work," the Associated Press reported September 28, 2005.

TSA chief Kip Hawley, "though, said Secure Flight is essential to keeping terrorists off planes," the AP wrote. "Secure Flight has to go in some fashion," Hawley said.

"Both CAPPS II and Secure Flight were developed to replace the current system, CAPPS, which is administered by the airlines," Ryan Singel reported August 27, 2004, for Wired News.

How "Secure Flight" Would Work

Both Congress and 9/11 Commission wanted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) "to do the checking so the watch lists can be expanded without fear that terrorists might get a copy," Singel wrote. Testing of the old airline reservation data was to begin in November 2004, with the airlines forwarding the passenger lists to the government. "The TSA [would] then check the names against an interagency centralized terrorist watch list and decide whether passengers should be singled out for extra scrutiny or arrest."

"The new proposal," Singel wrote, "is less a complete rethinking of CAPPS II, than it is a scaled-back version."

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