AUGUST 9, 2007 - DHS MOVE TO CHECK PASSENGER LISTS BEFORE TAKE-OFF IS OVERDUE SECURITY MEASURE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, today issued the following statement in response to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff’s announcement of new requirements that the government check airline passenger manifests against terrorist watch lists before takeoff, a departure from the current DHS policy of conducting such checks after planes already are en route.

In 2005, following diversions of Boston-bound flights from Europe due to suspected matches on the terrorist watch list, Rep. Markey wrote to Secretary Chertoff to urge the Department to ensure that all passengers are checked against watch lists prior to take-off.

“The time to detect potential terrorists on commercial flights is before boarding, not at 30,000 feet, when it could be too late. Our policy should be ‘No Wheels Up Until the Watch List is Checked Off.’

“I am pleased that the Department of Homeland Security is taking this long-overdue step. Today’s announcement signals an important advancement in aviation security for the millions of passengers and the air crews flying every year.

“As the Transportation Security Administration begins testing this program, I will be watching closely to ensure that the program is effective without compromising passenger privacy,” Rep. Markey said.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer, 202.225.2836