Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano briefed reporters today on her trip last week to Europe to meet with foreign airline and European government officials to discuss ways to boost aviation security in the wake of the Dec 25th attempted bombing.
Napolitano said “There exists a broad consensus and a clear sense of urgency to strengthen security measures”
She said there is agreement in four broad areas — information sharing, passenger vetting, better screening technology and international standards for passenger security. The problem, of course, is the U.S. doesn’t control screening at foreign airports, and it’s really up to foreign government to step up to the plate. Napolitano insisted they are ready to do that.
The secretary said, “The attempted attack on December 25th shows the terrorists will stop at nothing to kill Americans.”
“Our system should never have allowed this to happen”, she said. “Now we have to use this as a catalyst for international action.”
She admitted that some countries don’t have the resources to improve security, and add new screening machines, but she said that all nations must discuss this and come up with a way to ensure countries have what they need.
As she pointed out, “The system has its weak links and we must address them without delay.”
Napolitano was asked – didn’t this sense of urgency exist after 9-11 — and she said perhaps it had weakened, but the Christmas Day event has renewed the sense governments must move quickly on this.
DHS is also now getting more data from the State Department — including a list of people who are quote “possible terrorists” – and that data is now being overseas and available to foreign governments to check passengers again.
There will be additional international meetings to try to come up with more precise details on how everyone is going to boost security and work together.